Mechanism of Increased Dissemination of Chikungunya Virus in Aedes albopictus Mosquitoes Concurrently Ingesting Microfilariae of Dirofilaria immitis

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  • Department of Medical Zoology, Kobe University School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan

We investigated whether concurrent ingestion of chikungunya virus and microfilariae of Dirofilaria immitis increases viral dissemination and multiplication in a mosquito vector. The increased rate of dissemination of this virus in mosquitoes concurrently ingesting both agents was found when homogenates of bodies and those of legs only were examined. It was significantly higher than that of controls ingesting the virus alone through the end of the experiment on day 14 after infection. We next studied the mechanism by which the presence of microfilariae enabled the virus to enter into the hemocoel and to reach the salivary glands. We checked our results using histopathologic procedures and electron microscopy by identifying holes produced by the microfilariae that penetrated the midgut epithelial layer. When the midgut of mosquitoes was punctured with a thin needle immediately after the mosquitoes ingested viruses, higher infection rates were observed than in mosquitoes without such punctures.