Development of Infective Stage Leishmania Promastigotes within Phlebotomine Sand Flies

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  • Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Entomology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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Midgut promastigotes were obtained from Phlebotomus papatasi and Lutzomyia longipalpis on days 3–7 after infection with cloned isolates of Leishmania major and Leishmania mexicana amazonensis, respectively, and examined as to their ability to initiate cutaneous infections in BALB/c mice. Sequential development of midgut promastigotes from a noninfective to an infective stage was confirmed for both the New World and Old World species. The generation of infective promastigotes from rapidly dividing avirulent populations occurred as early as day 3 and was well under way by day 4 after infective feed. Optimally infective promastigotes were recovered from midguts shortly after bloodmeal passage, coinciding with the time at which another bloodmeal is sought by the fly.