Brugia malayi L3 molt to the L4 stage in serum-free cultures supplemented with arachidonic, linoleic, or linolenic acids and the basidiomycetous yeast Rhodotorula minuta. These fatty acids are capable of entering the eicosanoid pathway of arachidonate metabolism, the pathway responsible for generating a number of biologically active mediators, including prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and lipoxins. To determine whether this pathway was required for L3 development, we added dual inhibitors of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase to in vitro cultures containing B. malayi L3. These compounds significantly inhibited L3 molting. To evaluate whether 1 or both of these pathways of arachidonate metabolism were involved in molting, we tested drugs inhibiting either cyclooxygenase or lipoxygenase. Lipoxygenase inhibitors blocked L3 molting, whereas cyclooxygenase inhibitors did not. To assess whether enzymes operating downstream of lipoxygenase were also involved in L3 molting, we added inhibitors of enzymes involved in leukotriene synthesis and found they were also capable of preventing development. We tested the same inhibitor panel on Dirofilaria immitis L3. A single lipoxygenase inhibitor and inhibitors of 2 different enzymes operating downstream of lipoxygenase disrupted D. immitis development. These results demonstrate that a lipoxygenase pathway product is required for molting of the infective stage larvae of filarial parasites.

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