Cell death and regeneration in the midgut of the mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus

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Okuda, Kendi
Almeida, Fabio de
Mortara, Renato A.
Krieger, Henrique
Marinotti, Osvaldo
Bijovsky, A. Tania
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Haematophagy, the utilization of blood as food, has evolved independently among insects such as mosquitoes, bedbugs, fleas, and others. Accordingly, several distinct biological adaptations have occurred in order to facilitate the finding, ingestion and digestion of blood from vertebrate sources. Although blood meals are essential for survival and reproduction of these insects, mechanical and chemical stresses are caused by the ingestion of a sizable meal (frequently twice or more times the weight of the insect) containing large amounts of cytotoxic molecules such as haem. Here we present data showing that the stresses caused by a blood meal induce cell death in the midgut epithelium of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. the process involves apoptosis, ejection of dead cells to the midgut lumen and differentiation of basal regenerative cells to replace the lost digestive cells. the basal cell differentiation in blood-fed mosquito midguts represents an additional mechanism by which insects cope with the stresses caused by blood meals. C quinquefasciatus adult females are unable to replace lost cells following a third or fourth blood meal, which may have a significant impact on mosquito longevity, reproduction and vectorial capacity. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Journal of Insect Physiology. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 53, n. 12, p. 1307-1315, 2007.