Very little dopa decarboxylase activity is detectable in adult female mosquitoes Aedes aegypti which have not been allowed to engorge blood. However, when such females are injected with the molting hormone ß-ecdysone a marked stimulation of this enzyme's activity is observable. No stimulation is observed in males similarly injected, nor in females injected with cholesterol or a juvenile hormone mimic. In addition, ecdysone injection initiates ovarian development in these anautogenous non-blood-fed mosquitoes. The extent of stimulation in both cases is dependent upon the amount of ß-ecdysone administered. These results suggested that ecdysone may play a role in ovarian development in Aedes and led us to hypothesize that a normal blood meal may trigger the synthesis, activation, or release of this hormone endogenously. Using the radioimmune assay for ecdysone developed by Borst and O'Connor (Science [Wash. D. C.] 178:4–18.), we found that the titer of an antigenic-positive material, presumably ecdysone or a closely related analogue, substantially increased 24 h after blood feeding, thereby supporting our postulation.

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