Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, 106(1) February 2011
Original Article

Susceptibility of Anopheles campestris-like and Anopheles barbirostris species complexes to Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax in Thailand

Sorawat ThongsahuanI; Visut BaimaiII; Anuluck JunkumI; Atiporn SaeungI; Gi-Sik MinIII; Deepak JoshiIII; Mi-Hyun ParkIII; Pradya SomboonI; Wannapa SuwonkerdIV; Pongsri TippawangkosolI; Narissara JariyapanI; Wej ChoochoteI, +

IDepartment of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
IIDepartment of Biology and Cen-tre for Vectors and Vector-Borne Diseases, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
IIIDepartment of Biological Sciences, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea
IVOffice of Vector Borne Diseases Control, Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Page: 105-112 DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02762011000100017
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ABSTRACT

Nine colonies of five sibling species members of Anopheles barbirostris complexes were experimentally infected with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. They were then dissected eight and 14 days after feeding for oocyst and sporozoite rates, respectively, and compared with Anopheles cracens. The results revealed that Anopheles campestris-like Forms E (Chiang Mai) and F (Udon Thani) as well as An. barbirostris species A3 and A4 were non-potential vectors for P. falciparum because 0% oocyst rates were obtained, in comparison to the 86.67-100% oocyst rates recovered from An. cracens. Likewise, An. campestris-like Forms E (Sa Kaeo) and F (Ayuttaya), as well as An. barbirostris species A4, were non-potential vectors for P. vivax because 0% sporozoite rates were obtained, in comparison to the 85.71-92.31% sporozoite rates recovered from An. cracens. An. barbirostris species A1, A2 and A3 were low potential vectors for P. vivax because 9.09%, 6.67% and 11.76% sporozoite rates were obtained, respectively, in comparison to the 85.71-92.31% sporozoite rates recovered from An. cracens. An. campestris-like Forms B and E (Chiang Mai) were high-potential vectors for P. vivax because 66.67% and 64.29% sporozoite rates were obtained, respectively, in comparison to 90% sporozoite rates recovered from An. cracens.

Malaria is a major concern in international public health. It is endemic in more than 109 countries and threatens the health of about 50% of the world's population (350-500 million people/year), particularly in tropical and subtropical regions (e.g., parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Hispaniola and Oceania). The disease is caused by six species of Plasmodium and anopheline mosquitoes are important vectors (WHO 1997, Singh et al. 2004, Vythilingam et al. 2006, Sutherland et al. 2010). Five species of malaria parasites are found in Thailand. The most common are Plasmodium vivax Grassi and Feletti (52.70%) and Plasmodium falciparum Welch (46.74%) and 0.51% are mixed infections. Plasmodium malariae Grassi and Feletti (0.04%) and Plasmodium ovale Stephens (0.01%) are rare and only four cases of Plasmodium knowlesi Sinton and Mulligan have been reported (Jongwutiwes et al. 2004, MPH 2009). Regarding P. ovale, based on DNA samples from Ghana, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sao Tome, Sierra Leone and Uganda, at least two distinct new species, i.e., P. ovale curtisi (classic type) and P. ovale wallikeri(variant type), have been described recently by Sutherland et al. (2010). However, the identity of these two new species in Thailand is still ambiguous and needs further detailed investigation. The disease in Thailand is generally limited to rural communities living in or near forested regions, mountains and foothills, particularly in areas near and along its borders with neighbouring countries, i.e., Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia.

There are at least 20 anopheline species playing an important role as primary, secondary and suspected vectors of malaria in Thailand. The primary vectors are Anopheles dirus Peyton and Harrison, Anopheles baimaii Sallum and Peyton, Anopheles minimus s.l. and Anopheles maculatus Theobald, while Anopheles aconitus Doenitz, Anopheles pseudowillmori Theobald and Anopheles epiroticus Linton and Harbach are considered secondary vectors (Gould et al. 1967, Scanlon et al. 1968, Harrison 1980, Rosenberg et al. 1990, Green et al. 1991, Rattanarithikul et al. 1996, Subbarao 1998, Linton et al. 2005, Sallum et al. 2005a, b). The remaining 13 species, Anopheles annularis Van der Wulp, Anopheles barbirostris Van der Wulp, Anopheles campestris Reid, Anopheles karwari James, Anopheles kochi Doenitz, Anopheles nigerrimus Giles, Anopheles nivipes Theobald, Anopheles peditaeniatus Leicester, Anopheles philippinensis Ludlow, Anopheles sawadwongporni Rattanarithikul and Green, Anopheles si-nensis Wiedemann, Anopheles tessellatus Theobald and Anopheles vagus Doenitz, are suspected vectors based on positive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay results for oocysts in the midgut and/or circumsporozoite antigens (Baker et al. 1987, Harbach et al. 1987, Gingrich et al. 1990, Frances et al. 1996, Rattanarithikul et al. 1996).

As early as 1953, the An. barbirostris/campestris group was considered a suspected vector of malaria and/or filariasis in Thailand (Iyengar 1953, Griffith 1955, Scanlon et al. 1968). The group was proven to be a natural vector of malaria because of the P. vivax and filariasis caused by Brugia malayi Brug and Brugia timori Partono in Malaysia and Indonesia (Reid 1968, Atomosoedjono et al. 1976, Kirnowardoyo 1985). Recently, members of the An. barbirostris/campestris group were incriminated as potential natural vectors of P. vivax in the Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo province, eastern Thailand (Limrat et al. 2001, Apiwathnasor et al. 2002). In addition, they were also considered vectors that played an important role in the increase in cases of P. vivax infection in Thailand (Sattabongkot et al. 2004).

Differences in malarial vector-competence among sibling species members of some Anopheles species complexes have been noticed, particularly in determining their potentiality as vectors, by comparative susceptibility tests to malaria parasites under laboratory conditions. As determined by sporozoite rates in the salivary glands of Anopheles culicifacies Giles complexes, species A and C were susceptible to P. vivax, while species B was refractory (Subbarao 1998, Adak et al. 1999). Species A was the most susceptible, whereas species B was the least susceptible species to both Plasmodium yoelii yoelii Landau and Killick-Kendrick and Plasmodium vinckei petteri Carter and Walliker (Kaur et al. 2000). In the Anopheles oswaldoi complexes, An. oswaldoi Peryassú was susceptible to P. vivax, while Anopheles konderi Galvão and Damasceno was refractory (Marrelli et al. 1999). Recently, at least five sibling species have been discovered within the An. barbirostris/campestris group, i.e., An. campestris-like and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 (Saeung et al. 2007, 2008, Suwannamit et al. 2009). Little is known about the potential vector for P. falciparum and/or P. vivax in these five sibling species members; thus, intensive comparison of their vector-competence is needed to elucidate their potential vector status. This study reports the susceptibility in the laboratory of An. campestris-like forms and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 to P. falciparum and P. vivax.

 

SUBJECTS, MATERIALS AND METHODS

Laboratory-raised isoline colonies - Nine isoline colonies, An. campestris-like Forms B (Chiang Mai), E (Chiang Mai & Sa Kaeo) and F (Ayuttaya & Udon Thani) and An. barbirostris species A1 (Chiang Mai), A2 (Phetchaburi), A3 (Kanchanaburi) and A4 (Chiang Mai) were established based on morphological, cytogenetic and molecular investigations and crossing experiments, as previously reported by Saeung et al. (2007, 2008), Suwannamit et al. (2009) and Thongsahuan et al. (2009). These colonies were successfully reared using the methods of Choochote et al. (1983) and Kim et al. (2003) in an insectary room at 27 ± 2ºC and 70-80% relative humidity (RH). The room was illuminated with a combination of natural daylight from glass windows and fluorescent lighting (approximately 12 h per day) and the malarial susceptibility test was used throughout the experiments. Anopheles cracens Sallum and Peyton, formerly known as Anopheles dirus B, has been proven to be an efficient laboratory vector for both P. falciparum and P. vivax (Junkum et al. 2005, Sallum et al. 2005a, b) and was used as the control vector in the malarial susceptibility experiments. The colony of An. cracens was originally obtained from the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand, and the free-mating colony (Sucharit & Choochote 1983) had been established for more than two decades in the insectary of the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

P. falciparum and P. vivax gametocytes - The gametocytes of P. falciparum and P. vivax were obtained from malaria patients who were infected in Maetang and/or other districts in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. Ten millilitres of blood containing gametocytes from the two malaria species was collected by venipuncture in a heparinized syringe, kept at ambient temperature and used for infecting mosquitoes within 12 h of collection. Informed consent was obtained from the patients before blood collection and the study protocols were approved by the Internal Review Board of Chiang Mai Office for Vector Borne Diseases Control, Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.

Infection of mosquitoes with P. falciparum and P. vivax gametocytes - After emergence, all adult female mosquitoes were provided with a 10% sucrose solution until they were 4-6 days old. They were subsequently fasted for 12 h prior to being infected. The 12-h fasted females of An. campestris-like forms, An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 and a control mosquito-vector (An. cracens) were put in paper cups that were 8.5 cm in diameter and 11 cm deep (50 fasted females per cup for each species) and allowed to feed on heparinised blood containing gametocytes using the artificial membrane feeding techniques described by Chomcharn et al. (1980). The different groups of fasted females belonging to distinct species and/or forms were not always fed simultaneously with the same infective blood. After feeding, the fully engorged females were separated into smaller paper cups (diameter 6.5 cm, depth 8 cm) containing 10 mosquitoes per cup. The cups were maintained in an insectary at 27 ± 2ºC and 70-80% RH. A cotton wool pad soaked with 10% sucrose solution was provided regularly and changed every other day until the time of dissection. Eight and 14 days after feeding, the infected mosquitoes were dissected and examined for oocysts in the midgut and sporozoites in the salivary glands.

 

RESULTS

Infection of mosquitoes with P. falciparum gametocytes - Details of the oocyst and sporozoite rates of An. cracens, An. campestris-like Forms E and F and An. barbirostris species A3 and A4 eight and 14 days post-infection with P. falciparum gametocytes are shown in Table I.

The 100% and 86.67% oocyst rates corresponded to an average of 114.80 and 86.38 oocysts per infected midgut eight and 14 days after feeding, respectively. The 93.33% sporozoite rate obtained from An. cracens, an efficient control vector, 14 days after feeding, showed that the feedings were conditional on the proper density and maturity of the infective gametocytes in infected blood. The oocyst and sporozoite rates recovered from An. campestris-like Forms E (Chiang Mai) and F (Udon Thani) and An. barbirostris species A3 and A4 were 0% at both eight and 14 days after feeding.

Infection of mosquitoes with P. vivax gametocytes - Details of the oocyst and sporozoite rates of An. cracens, An. campestris-like Forms B, E and F and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 eight and 14 days post-infection with P. vivax gametocytes are shown in Table II. Pictures of oocyst-infected midguts and sporozoite-infected salivary glands of An. cracens and An. campestris-like Form E are illustrated in Figs 1 and 2. The 100%, 100% and 100% oocyst rates corresponded to an average of 108.60, 145.00 and 10.20 oocysts per infected midgut in experiments I, II and III, respectively, eight days after feeding. The 90%, 85.71% and 76.92% oocyst rates corresponded to an average of 48.44, 40.17 and 4.50 oocysts per infected midgut in experiments I, II and III, respectively, 14 days after feeding. The 90%, 85.71% and 92.31% sporozoite rates in experiments I, II and III, respectively, were obtained 14 days after feeding from An. cracens, an efficient control vector. These rates exhibited that all feedings were conditional on the proper density and maturity of infective gametocytes in infected blood.

 

 

 

 

An. campestris-like forms (Chiang Mai) (experiment I) - Comparative statistical analyses of the oocyst rates and average number of oocysts per infected midgut of An. campestris-like forms (Chiang Mai) [oocyst rates: Forms B (100% and 66.67%) and E (100% and 100%), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding; average number oocyst per infected midgut: Forms B (77.60 and 20.75) and E (131 and 42), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding] and An. cracens, an efficient control vector, exhibited no significant difference in all experimental studies (p > 0.05). Likewise, the sporozoite rates of An. campestris-like forms [Forms B (66.67%) and E (64.29%), 14 days after feeding] did not differ significantly from An. cracens (p > 0.05).

An. campestris-like Forms E (Sa Kaeo) and F (Ayuttaya) - The oocyst rates of An. campestris-like Forms E [experiment II (60%) and III (40%), 8 days after feeding; experiment II (33.33%) and III (0%), 14 days after feeding] and F [experiment II (40%) and III (20%), 8 days after feeding; experiment II (12.50%) and III (0%), 14 days after feeding] and the average number of oocysts per infected midgut of An. campestris-like Forms E [experiment II (20.33) and III (2.50), 8 days after feeding; experiment II (12.20) and III (0), 14 days after feeding] and F [experiment II (8.50) and III (1.50), 8 days after feeding; experiment II (2.50) and III (0), 14 days after feeding] were lower than An. cracens, an efficient control vector, in all experimental studies. Comparative statistical analyses of the oocyst rates and average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. campestris-like Forms E and F, eight days after feeding, were performed. The results demonstrated that only the oocyst rates between An. cracens and An. campestris-like Form F (experiment III) differed significantly (p < 0.05), whereas only the average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. campestris-like Forms E and F (experiment III) did not differ significantly (p > 0.05). Comparative statistical analyses of the oocyst rates and average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. campestris-like Forms E and F, 14 days after feeding, were not done because during this period the mature oocysts from the midguts of An. cracens ruptured and yielded unreliable results. Interestingly, different stages of oocyst development could be observed in An. campestris-like Forms E and F compared to An. cracens. Most of the oocysts recovered from An. cracens, eight and 14 days after feeding, showed a mature stage of development with a wheel-shaped pattern of sporozoites inside cysts. In An. campestris-like Forms E and F, all of the investigated oocysts had abnormal development, with retaining stages, and some formed melanin inside cysts. The sporozoite rates of An. campestris-like Forms E and F (experiment II and III) were 0% 14 days after feeding.

An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 - The oocyst rates of An. barbirostris species A1 [experiment II (60% and 27.27%), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding], A2 [experiment I (40% and 26.67%), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding], A3 [experiment I (40% and 29.41%), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding] and A4 [experiment II (40% and 5.56%), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding] and the average number of oocysts per infected midgut of An. barbirostris species A1 [experiment II (20.33 and 3.83), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding], A2 [experiment I (18 and 7.75), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding], A3 [experiment I (13.50 and 3.20), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding] and A4 [experiment II (5.50 and 2), 8 and 14 days, respectively, after feeding] were lower than An. cracens, an efficient control vector, in all experimental studies. Comparative statistical analyses of the oocyst rates and average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4, eight days after feeding, were carried out. The results revealed that the oocyst rates between An. cracens and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 did not differ significantly (p > 0.05), while the average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 differed significantly (p < 0.05). Comparative statistical analyses of the oocyst rates and the average number of oocysts per infected midgut between An. cracens and An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4 14 days after feeding were not done because during this period the mature oocysts from the midguts of An. cracens ruptured and yielded unreliable results. A few normally developed oocysts were obtained from An. barbirostris species A1, A2, A3 and A4, particularly eight days after feeding, whereas most of them were abnormally developed and/or in retaining stages. The sporozoite rates of An. barbirostris species A1 (experiment II), A2 and A3 (experiment I) and A4 (experiment II), 14 days after feedings, were 9.09%, 6.67%, 11.76% and 0%, respectively. Comparative statistical analyses of sporozoite rates between An. cracens and An. barbirostris species A1, A2 and A3 differed significantly (p < 0.05).

 

DISCUSSION

Before identifying certain mosquitoes as malaria vectors in endemic areas of mosquito-borne human diseases, it is necessary to confirm the susceptibility rate of infection in a laboratory-bred, clean mosquito colony that has been fed on a carrier blood containing pathogens as well as recover the infective stage pathogens in the transmission organ of mosquito vectors. By using this criterion, the susceptibility test in an experimental laboratory is still a useful tool in identifying a certain mosquito species as a potential vector. Nonetheless, susceptibility alone does not imply an important role in the transmission of disease in nature, whereas a refractory result can entirely rule out a vector's significance (Sasa 1976, Rongsriyam et al. 1998, Choochote et al. 2001). In this study, nine isoline colonies of five sibling species members of An. barbirostris complexes, i.e., An. campestris-like Forms B (Chiang Mai), E (Chiang Mai and Sa Kaeo) and F (Udon Thani and Ayuttaya) and An. barbirostris species A1 (Chaing Mai), A2 (Phetchaburi), A3 (Kanchanaburi) and A4 (Chiang Mai) were tested for susceptibility to indigenous strains of P. falciparum and P. vivax.

For P. falciparum malaria, there was no development of oocysts and there were 0% sporozoite rates from An. campestris-like Forms E (Chiang Mai) and F (Udon Thani) and An. barbirostris species A3 and A4. This indicated that these species were non-potential vectors for P. falciparum. The results were in agreement with the previous report by Somboon et al. (1994), that showed that An. barbirostris (Mae Hong Son, northern Thailand) was not susceptible to a local strain of P. falciparum.

For P. vivax malaria, there was abnormal development and/or retaining stage of oocysts with 0% sporozoite rates from An. campestris-like Forms E (Sa Kaeo) and F (Ayuttaya) and An. barbirostris species A4. These results revealed that they were non-potential vectors for P. vivax. The low normal development of oocysts, with 9.09%, 6.67% and 11.76% sporozoite rates recovered from An. barbirostris species A1, A2 and A3, respectively, demonstrated that these species were low potential vectors for P. vivax. The high normal development of oocysts, with 66.67% and 64.29% sporozoite rates, obtained from An. campestris-like Forms B and E (Chiang Mai), respectively, indicated that they were high-potential vectors for P. vivax. The above results confirmed that only An. campestris-like and/or An. campestris were potentially natural vectors of P. vivax and that these vectors could be playing an important role in the increasing cases of P. vivax in Thailand, as suggested by Harrison and Scanlon (1975), Limrat et al. (2001), Apiwathnasor et al. (2002) and Sattabongkot et al. (2004). Nonetheless, additional investigations of the oocyst and sporozoite rates of wild-caught female An. campestris-like Forms B and E in an endemic area of malaria in Chiang Mai province and/or northern Thailand should be intensively carried out to determine the role of this species as a natural vector. Additionally, this study found that there were differences in malarial vector competence among the five sibling species members of An. barbirostris complexes, which confirmed previous reports of different sibling species members. For example, in An. culicifacies complexes, species A and C were susceptible to P. vivax, while species B was refractory (Subbarao 1998, Adak et al. 1999). Species A was the most susceptible, whereas species B was the least susceptible to both P. yoelii yoelii and P. vinckei petteri (Kaur et al. 2000). In An. oswaldoi complexes, An. oswaldoi was susceptible to P. vivax, while An. konderi was refractory (Marrelli et al. 1999). Interestingly, the high-potential vectors for P. vivax, An. campestris-like Forms B and E (Chiang Mai), were genetically compatible and/or nearly identical to the non-potential vectors An. campestris-like Forms E (Sa Kaeo) and F (Ayuttaya) (Thongsahuan et al. 2009). Different strains of the same species exhibiting different malarial vector competence has been previously reported, e.g., Anopheles stephensi Liston to Plasmodium gallinaceum Brumpt (Frizzi et al. 1975), Anopheles gambiae Giles to P. gallinaceum (Vernick et al. 1995), Anopheles atroparvus Van Thiel to Plasmodium berghei Vincke and Lips (Sluiters et al. 1986) and An. gambiae to Plasmodium spp (Collins et al. 1986). Competence in these strains appears to be controlled by malaria susceptibility (Pif-Bs/Pif-Br) and refractoriness (Pif-Cs/Pif-Cr) genes (Vernick et al. 1989). Refractoriness is manifested by malaria mosquito recognition during midgut invasion and the mechanism by which the mosquito defends itself against malaria is induced (Abraham & Jacobs-Lorena 2004).

The 0% sporozoite rates recovered from An. cam-pestris-like Form E (Sa Kaeo) in this study were contrary to the 23.80% sporozoite rate obtained from An. campestris (Sa Kaeo) reported by Apiwathnasor et al. (2002). The morphological criterion of branch summation of seta 2-VI pupal skins used in the identification and/or differentiation of An. campestris-like Form E [Sa Kaeo: 24 (18-31) branches] (Thongsahuan et al. 2009) and An. campestris [Sa Kaeo: 22 (17-58) branches] (Apiwathnasor et al. 2002) from topotypic An. barbirostris (6-18 branches) (Harrison & Scanlon 1975) was very similar. However, different strains of P. vivax gametocyte were used in the susceptibility tests in the different studies; a northern strain (Chiang Mai) was used in this study and an eastern strain (Sa Kaeo) was used by Apiwathnasor et al. (2002). Even though the immunophenotypic strains of P. vivax (VK210 and VK247 variants) (Rosenberg et al. 1989) were not determined in this study, two reports from western and eastern Thailand demonstrated that VK210 was detected in 2/478 An. campestris strains from a western region (Tak) (Coleman et al. 2002) and VK247 in 2/42 An. barbirostris strains from an eastern area (Chanthaburi) (Frances et al. 1996). The species identification of An. campestris and An. barbirostris in the above studies was based on the morphological criterion of wild-caught adult females that usually exhibit morphological characteristics that are similar across species. These characteristics can cause errors in species identification (Harrison & Scanlon 1975). Thus, a crucial question is whether the immunophenotypic strains of malaria gametocytes are specifically susceptible to different strains of the An. barbirostris/campestris group. Further detailed investigations of malaria susceptibility and refractoriness genes among allopatric populations of An. campestris-like forms in relation to immunophenotypic strains of P. vivax in Thailand are needed to fully understand their malarial vector competence.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To Dr Niwes Nantachit, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, for his interest in this research project.

 

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Received 30 June 2010
Accepted 8 December 2010
Financial support: TRF/BIOTEC/BRT (R252005), TRF/RGJ-Ph.D. (PHD/0082/2549)

+ Corresponding author: wchoocho@mail.med.cmu.ac.th

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