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Open Access Methodology

Mosquito transmission of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi

Philip J Spence*, William Jarra, Prisca Lévy, Wiebke Nahrendorf and Jean Langhorne*

Author Affiliations

Division of Parasitology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK

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Malaria Journal 2012, 11:407  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-407

Published: 6 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Serial blood passage of Plasmodium increases virulence, whilst mosquito transmission inherently regulates parasite virulence within the mammalian host. It is, therefore, imperative that all aspects of experimental malaria research are studied in the context of the complete Plasmodium life cycle.

Methods

Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi displays many characteristics associated with human Plasmodium infection of natural mosquito vectors and the mammalian host, and thus provides a unique opportunity to study the pathogenesis of malaria in a single infection setting. An optimized protocol that permits efficient and reproducible vector transmission of P. c. chabaudi via Anopheles stephensi was developed.

Results and conclusions

This protocol was utilized for mosquito transmission of genetically distinct P. c. chabaudi isolates, highlighting differential parasite virulence within the mosquito vector and the spectrum of host susceptibility to infection initiated via the natural route, mosquito bite. An apposite experimental system in which to delineate the pathogenesis of malaria is described in detail.