In the present paper, we developed a primary culture of Rhodnius prolixus salivary gland and main salivary canal cells. Cells remained viable in culture for 30 days. Three types of cells were indentified in the salivary gland cultures, with binuclear cells being the most abundant. The supernatants of salivary cultures contained mainly 16-24 kDa proteins and presented anticoagulant and apyrase activities. Secretion vesicles were observed budding from the cellular monolayer of the main salivary canal cells. These results indicate that R. prolixus salivary proteins may be produced in vitro and suggest that the main salivary canal may have a possible secretory role.
The aim of this study was to obtain experimental evidence that phlebotomine saliva is actually ingested during the carbohydrate ingestion phase (before and after blood digestion). The ingestion of carbohydrate was simulated as it occurs in the field by offering the insects balls of cotton soaked in sucrose, sucrose crystals or orange juice cells. The results obtained here showed that ingestion occurred under each condition investigated, as indicated by the presence of apyrase, an enzyme used as a marker to detect saliva in the insect gut and/or carbohydrate sources. Saliva ingestion by phlebotomine during the carbohydrate ingestion phase is important to explain how it could promote starch digestion and to trigger Leishmania promastigotes to follow a differentiation pathway as proposed previously by some authors.