Plasmodium coatneyi: observations on periodicity, mosquito infection, and transmission to Macaca mulatta monkeys.

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  • 1 Division of Parasitic Diseases and Scientific Resources Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.

Plasmodium coatneyi has adapted well to experimental studies with Macaca mulatta monkeys and Anopheles dirus mosquitoes. Studies were made to determine 1) the course of asexual parasitemia, 2) periods when infective gametocytes were produced, 3) the laboratory-reared mosquitoes susceptible to infection, 4) the mosquito most capable of transmitting the infection to monkeys via bite, 5) the pattern of recrudescence, and 6) the prepatent periods following the bites of infected An. dirus mosquitoes. The period when infective gametocytes are produced is concentrated primarily in the first week when parasitemia exceeds 1,000/microl. Mosquitoes were more heavily infected on days when the asexual parasite counts were highest. Gametocyte counts were generally low. Mature forms of the parasite markedly sequestered giving a pattern of high-low periodicity. Anopheles dirus and An. freeborni mosquitoes were nearly equal in terms of their ability to support oocyst development. Other species (An. stephensi, An. maculatus, and An. gambiae.) were less supportive. High sporozoite densities in the salivary glands were frequently produced in An. dirus and sporozoite transmission was obtained via the bites of these mosquitoes after 12-18 days of extrinsic incubation. Prepatent periods ranged from 10 to 15 days. The presence of frequent parasitic recrudescences suggests mechanisms similar to that seen in human infections with P. falciparum. It is proposed that P. coatneyi in M. mulatta monkeys can be a suitable model for studies on cerebral pathology, vaccine efficacy, and the testing of antimalarial drugs.