Synthesis and mobilization of glycogen and trehalose in adult male Rhodnius prolixus.

Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology

PubMedID: 19514081

Mariano AC, Santos R, Gonzalez MS, Feder D, Machado EA, Pascarelli B, Gondim KC, Meyer-Fernandes JR. Synthesis and mobilization of glycogen and trehalose in adult male Rhodnius prolixus. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2009;72(1):1-15.
The vector of Chagas' disease, Rhodnius prolixus, feeds exclusively on blood. The blood meals are slowly digested, and these insects wait some weeks before the next meal. During the life of an insect, energy-requiring processes such as moulting, adult gonadal and reproductive growth, vitellogenesis, muscular activity, and fasting, lead to increased metabolism. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy and their mobilization is important. We determined the amounts of glycogen, trehalose, and glucose present in the fat body and/or hemolymph of adult males of R. prolixus and recorded the processes of accumulation and mobilization of these carbohydrates. We also tested our hypothesis that these processes are under endocrine control. The amount of glycogen in the fat body progressively increased until the fourth day after feeding (from 9.3+/-2.2 to 77. 3+/-7.5 microg/fat body), then declined to values around 36.3+/-4.9 microg/fat body on the fifteenth day after the blood meal. Glycogen synthesis was eliminated in decapitated insects and head-transplanted insects synthesized glycogen. The amount of trehalose in the fat body increased until the sixth day after feeding (from 16. 6+/-1.7 to 40. 6+/-5.3 nmol/fat body), decreased abruptly, and stabilized between days 7 and 15 at values ranging around 15-19 nmol/fat body. Decapitated insects did not synthesize trehalose after feeding, and this effect was reversed in head-transplanted insects. The concentration of trehalose in the hemolymph increased after the blood meal until the third day (from 0.07+/-0.01 to 0.75+/-0.05 mM) and at the fourth day it decreased until the ninth day (0.21+/-0.01 mM), when it increased again until the fourteenth day (0.79+/-0.06 mM) after the blood meal, and then declined again. In decapitated insects, trehalose concentrations did not increase soon after the blood meal and at the third day it was very low, but on the fourteenth day it was close to the control values. The concentration of glucose in the hemolymph of untreated insects remained low and constant (0.18+/-0.01 mM) during the 15 days after feeding, but in decapitated insects it progressively increased until the fifteenth day (2.00+/-0.10 mM). We recorded the highest trehalase activity in midgut, which was maximal at the eighth day after feeding (2,830+/-320 nmol of glucose/organ/h). We infer that in Rhodnius prolixus, the metabolism of glycogen, glucose, and trehalose are controlled by factors from the brain, according to physiological demands at different days after the blood meal.