Influence of the intestinal anticoagulant in the feeding performance of triatomine bugs (Hemiptera; Reduviidae)

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Paim, Rafaela M. M.
Araujo, Ricardo N.
Soares, Adriana C.
Dhom Lemos, Lucas C.
Tanaka, Aparecida S. [UNIFESP]
Gontijo, Nelder F.
Lehane, Michael J.
Pereira, Marcos H.
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Triatomines are haematophagous insects in all post-embryonic life stages. They are vectors of Ttypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. Their vectorial ability is influenced by their feeding performance, which varies greatly amongst species. Recent work showed that inhibition of the coagulation process in the anterior midgut (crop) environment considerably influences the blood meal size. in this work, we performed a comparative study of the level of anticoagulant activity in the saliva and crop contents of three triatomine species - Triatoma infestans, Triatoma brasiliensis and Rhodnius prolixus - and correlated this with their feeding performance on live hosts. Moreover, the feeding parameters on a large diameter vessel influenced by the crop anticoagulants were evaluated in detail. the anticoagulant activity was significantly higher in the crop contents than in salivary glands, varying from 1.6-fold higher for R. prolixus to 70-fold higher for T. brasiliensis. Amongst the species, T. brasiliensis had the lowest crop anticoagulant activity, the lowest concentration of thrombin inhibitor, and took the longest to feed. Triatoma brasiliensis nymphs that had their intestinal anticoagulant (brasiliensin) knocked down by RNA interference had the lowest capacity to maintain cibarial pump frequency at higher levels throughout the feeding process and consequently a lower ingestion rate (mg/min), even when fed under favourable conditions (large diameter vessel). However, the feeding difficulty for brasiliensin knockdown T. brasiliensis nymphs was reversed by treating the host mice with heparin (a potent systemic anticoagulant) before blood feeding. the results indicate that crop anticoagulant activity influences modulation of the blood-pumping frequency to the intestine and significantly affects the feeding efficiency of triatomine spp. on live hosts. (C) 2011 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
International Journal for Parasitology. Oxford: Elsevier B.V., v. 41, n. 7, p. 765-773, 2011.