Pigeault, R., Vézilier, J., Cornet, S., Zélé, F., Nicot, A., Perret, P., Gandon, S. & Rivero, A. (2015) Avian malaria: a new lease of life for an old experimental model to study the evolutionary ecology of Plasmodium.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 370, 20140300. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2014.0300 (IF2015 5,847; Q1 Biology)
Avian malaria has historically played an important role as a model in the study of human malaria, being a stimulus for the development of medical parasitology. Avian malaria has recently come back to the research scene as a unique animal model to understand the ecology and evolution of the disease, both in the field and in the laboratory. Avian malaria is highly prevalent in birds and mosquitoes around the world and is amenable to laboratory experimentation at each stage of the parasite's life cycle. Here, we take stock of 5 years of experimental laboratory research carried out using Plasmodium relictum SGS1, the most prevalent avian malaria lineage in Europe, and its natural vector, the mosquito Culex pipiens. For this purpose, we compile and analyse data obtained in our laboratory in 14 different experiments. We provide statistical relationships between different infection-related parameters, including parasitaemia, gametocytaemia, host morbidity (anaemia) and transmission rates to mosquitoes. This analysis provides a wide-ranging picture of the within-host and between-host parameters that may bear on malaria transmission and epidemiology.