Innate immune system still works at diapause, a physiological state of dormancy in insects

Akihiro Nakamura, Kenji Miyado, Youki Takezawa, Naoko Ohnami, Masahiro Sato, Chihiro Ono, Yuichirou Harada, Keiichi Yoshida, Natsuko Kawano, Seiya Kanai, Mami Miyado, Akihiro Umezawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Diapause is most often observed in insects and is a physiologically dormant state different from other types of dormancy, such as hibernation. It allows insects to survive in harsh environments or extend longevity. In general, larval, pupal, or adult non-diapausing insects possess an innate immune system preventing the invasion of microorganisms into their bodies; however, it is unclear whether this system works under the dormant condition of diapause. We here report the occurrence of innate cellular reactions during diapause using pupae of a giant silkmoth, Samia cynthia pryeri. Scanning electron microscopic analysis demonstrated the presence of two major types of cells in the body fluid isolated from the thoracic region of a pupa. Phagocytosis and encapsulation, characteristics of innate cellular reactions, by these cells were observed when latex beads as foreign targets were microinjected into the internal portion of a pupa. Such behavior by these cells was still observed even when pupae were continuously chilled at 4. °C. Our results indicate that innate cellular reactions can work in diapausing insects in a dormant state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Diapause
  • Dormancy
  • Hemocyte
  • Innate immune system
  • Insect
  • Pupae


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