A review of the progress made in recent years on research and understanding of immunity in insect vectors of human and animal diseases
Kaaya Godwin P.
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Different modes of immune reactions of insect vectors of human and animal diseases to nematode and protozoan parasites, fungi, bacteria, viruses and to other biological materials e.g. xenografts are discussed in this paper. Since most of the insect vectors of diseases are adult dipterans with low numbers of circulating haemocytes, their mode of defence against metazoan parasites and fungal pathogens is primarily by means of humoral encapsulation, with little haemocyte participation. Although earlier workers reported that humoral capsules in dipterans were formed without direct participation by haemocytes, this paper reveals increasing evidence of cellular involvement in the formation of humoral capsules, both at the initial and terminal stages of the encapsulation process. The role of phenoloxidase system in non-self recognition and in the process of melanization of haemolymph and capsules formed around parasites and fungal pathogens is also discussed. Immune defence of insect vectors against bacterial invasion by means of haemocytic reactions e.g. phagocytosis and nodule formation and by synthesis and release of humoral antibacterial factors e.g. lysozyme, attacins and cecropins is described and compared with similar reactions reported to occur in other insects. The role of lectins in defence of insect vectors against the parasites they transmit e.g. sandflies against Leishmania, blackflies against Onchocerca and tsetse against Trypanosomes is discussed and the possible mechanisms by which some parasites evade recognition and attack by the vector immune systems are also briefly discussed