Original Investigations

Parasitology Research

, Volume 79, Issue 6, pp 492-496

First online:

Influence ofLeishmania infection on blood-meal digestion in the sandfliesPhlebotomus papatasi andP. langeroni

  • R. J. DillonAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • , R. P. LaneAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, The Natural History Museum

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The presence of amastigote-initiated infections ofLeishmania major parasites caused a significant suppression in alkaline protease, trypsin and aminopeptidase activity during the first 30 h after ingestion of the infected bloodmeal inPhlebotomus papatasi, the natural vector ofL. major. Protease levels were significantly higher in infected flies after 72 h than in the control group, where digestion had ceased. Evidence for the suppression of protease activity in infectedP. langeroni, a sympatric but un-natural vector ofL. major, was less clear; there was no difference in alkaline protease activity between control and infected groups in the first 24 h. However, protease, trypsin and aminopeptidase activities were elevated after 72 h in infectedP. langeroni, indicating a delay in the time to the end of digestion and passage of the bloodmeal. The potential advantages for parasite development in suppressing protease activity and extending the period of bloodmeal digestion are discussed.