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Aboagye-Antwi, Fred; Guindo, Amadou; Traoré, Amadou S; Hurd, Hilary; Coulibaly, Mamadou; Traoré, Sékou; Tripet, Frédéric (2010)
Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal: Malaria Journal
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: RC955-962, RC109-216, Infectious Diseases, QH, Infectious and parasitic diseases, Arctic medicine. Tropical medicine, Research, Parasitology

Classified by OpenAIRE into

mesheuropmc: parasitic diseases



Whether Plasmodium falciparum, the agent of human malaria responsible for over a million deaths per year, causes fitness costs in its mosquito vectors is a burning question that has not yet been adequately resolved. Understanding the evolutionary forces responsible for the maintenance of susceptibility and refractory alleles in natural mosquito populations is critical for understanding malaria transmission dynamics.


In natural mosquito populations, Plasmodium fitness costs may only be expressed in combination with other environmental stress factors hence this hypothesis was tested experimentally. Wild-caught blood-fed Anopheles gambiae s.s. females of the M and S molecular form from an area endemic for malaria in Mali, West Africa, were brought to the laboratory and submitted to a 7-day period of mild hydric stress or kept with water ad-libitum. At the end of this experiment all females were submitted to intense desiccation until death. The survival of all females throughout both stress episodes, as well as their body size and infection status was recorded. The importance of stress, body size and molecular form on infection prevalence and female survival was investigated using Logistic Regression and Proportional-Hazard analysis.


Females subjected to mild stress exhibited patterns of survival and prevalence of infection compatible with increased parasite-induced mortality compared to non-stressed females. Fitness costs seemed to be linked to ookinetes and early oocyst development but not the presence of sporozoites. In addition, when females were subjected to intense desiccation stress, those carrying oocysts exhibited drastically reduced survival but those carrying sporozoites were unaffected. No significant differences in prevalence of infection and infection-induced mortality were found between the M and S molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae.


Because these results suggest that infected mosquitoes may incur fitness costs under natural-like conditions, they are particularly relevant to vector control strategies aiming at boosting naturally occurring refractoriness or spreading natural or foreign genes for refractoriness using genetic drive systems in vector populations.

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