The impact of low erythrocyte density in human blood on the fitness and energetic reserves of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae

Emami, S.N., Ranford-Cartwright, L.C. and Ferguson, H.M. (2013) The impact of low erythrocyte density in human blood on the fitness and energetic reserves of the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Malaria Journal, 12, 45. (doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-12-45) (PMID:23374331) (PMCID:PMC3570331)

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Background Anaemia is a common health problem in the developing world. This condition is characterized by a reduction in erythrocyte density, primarily from malnutrition and/or infectious diseases such as malaria. As red blood cells are the primary source of protein for haematophagous mosquitoes, any reduction could impede the ability of mosquito vectors to transmit malaria by influencing their fitness or that of the parasites they transmit. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of differences in the density of red blood cells in human blood on malaria vector (Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto) fitness. The hypotheses tested are that mosquito vector energetic reserves and fitness are negatively influenced by reductions in the red cell density of host human blood meals commensurate with those expected from severe anaemia. Methods Mosquitoes (An. gambiae s.s.) were offered blood meals of different packed cell volume(PCV) of human blood consistent with those arising from severe anaemia (15%) and normalPCV (50%). Associations between mosquito energetic reserves (lipid, glucose and glycogen)and fitness measures (reproduction and survival) and blood meal PCV were investigated. Results The amount of protein that malaria vectors acquired from blood feeding (indexed by haematin excretion) was significantly reduced at low blood PCV. However, mosquitoes feeding on blood of low PCV had the same oviposition rates as those feeding on blood of normal PCV, and showed an increase in egg production of around 15%. The long-term survival of An. gambiae s.s was reduced after feeding on low PCV blood, but PCV had no significant impact on the proportion of mosquitoes surviving through the minimal period required to develop and transmit malaria parasites (estimated as 14 days post-blood feeding). The impact of blood PCV on the energetic reserves of mosquitoes was relatively minor. Conclusions These results suggest that feeding on human hosts whose PCV has been depleted due to severe anaemia does not significantly reduce the fitness or transmission potential of malaria vectors, and indicates that mosquitoes may be able exploit resources for reproduction more efficiently from blood of low rather than normal PCV.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ranford-Cartwright, Dr Lisa and Ferguson, Professor Heather and Emami, Miss Seyedeh Noushin
Authors: Emami, S.N., Ranford-Cartwright, L.C., and Ferguson, H.M.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Malaria Journal
Publisher:BioMed Central
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Malaria Journal 12:45
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
425321A systems biology approach to infectious disease transmission - linking individuals, populations and ecosystemsHeather FergusonBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/D020042/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
509071INFRAVECHeather FergusonEuropean Commission (EC)FP7 228421 INFRRI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED