Journal article Open Access

Mosquito feeding modulates Th1 and Th2 cytokine in flavivirus susceptible mice: an effect mimicked by injection of sialokinins, but not demonstrated in flavivirus resistant mice

Zeidner, Nordin S.; Higgs, Stephen; Happ, Christine M.; Beaty, Barry J.; Miller, Barry R.

Culex pipiens and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were fed on C3H/HeJ mice and systemic cytokine production was quantified from stimulated lymphocytes harvested four to ten days after feeding. Mosquito feeding on C3H/HeJ mice significantly down regulated IFNγ production seven to ten days post feeding by Cx. pipiens and seven days after Ae aegypti feeding. Th2 cytokines, IL-4 and IL-10, were significantly up regulated 4–7 days after Cx. pipiens and Ae. aegypti feeding. The immunosuppressive effect of Cx. pipiens feeding on systemic cytokine production was not evident in congenic flavivirus resistant (C3H/RV) mice, as systemic IFNγ and IL-2 were significantly up regulated at days 7 and 10, correlating with a significant decrease in IL-4 10 days after feeding by Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. Inoculation of 5–1000 ng of sialokinin-I into C3H/HeJ mice mimicked the effect of Ae. aegypti feeding by down regulating Th1 cytokines and significantly up regulating Th2 cytokines four days post inoculation. Injections of sialokinin-II resulted in only moderate effects on IFNγ and IL-4 production seven and ten days after injection. Thus natural feeding by two arbovirus vectors had a profound T cell modulatory effect in vivo in virus susceptible animals which was not demonstrated in the flavivirus resistant host. Moreover, sialokinin-I and sialokinin-II mimicked the effect of mosquito feeding by modulating the host T cell response. These results may lend new insight into specific aspects of the role of the mosquito vector in potentiating virus transmission in the mammalian host.

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