The immune response against different organisms and particles inoculated in the hemocoel of female Anopheles albimanus Wiedemann was investigated. Histological and ultrastructural observations indicated that melanization and hemocyte type participation varied according to the particles inoculated. The initial responses against heat-killed Microccocus lysodeikticus and Escherichia coli included hemocyte lysis and melanization whereas the response to heat-killed Saccharomyces cerevisiae was only cellular, and an initial melanization of Sephadex G-25 (neutral charged) beads was followed by the formation of cellular aggregates. After 24 h, hemocytes were involved in all terminal encapsulation events. Plasmodium vivax Grassi and Feletti formalin-fixed sporozoites induced a weak response. Cellular aggregates were observed 1 h postinoculation, but participating hemocytes could not be identified because of the extensive cellular damage and lysis. Sporozoites were also observed in the core of these aggregates, mixed with cell debris and free in the hemolymph. The effect on the inoculated particles was also different—S. cerevisiae was encapsulated only by hemocytes, whereas M. lysodeikticus was lysed and E. coli was phagocytosed by plasmatocytes. These results indicate that hemocytes are important components in the immune response in An. albimanus.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1