Ingested human insulin inhibits the mosquito NF-κB-dependent immune response to Plasmodium falciparum

Nazzy Pakpour, Vanessa Corby-Harris, Gabriel P. Green, Hannah M. Smithers, Kong W. Cheung, Michael A. Riehle, Shirley Luckhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We showed previously that ingested human insulin activates the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway in Anopheles stephensi and increases the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to Plasmodium falciparum. In other organisms, insulin can alter immune responsiveness through regulation of NF-κB transcription factors, critical elements for innate immunity that are also central to mosquito immunity. We show here that insulin signaling decreased expression of NF-κB-regulated immune genes in mosquito cells stimulated with either bacterial or malarial soluble products. Further, human insulin suppressed mosquito immunity through sustained phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activation, since inhibition of this pathway led to decreased parasite development in the mosquito. Together, these data demonstrate that activation of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway by ingested human insulin can alter NF-κB-dependent immunity, and ultimately the susceptibility, of mosquitoes to P. falciparum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2149
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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