Invertebrates have been valuable research models in the discovery of many scientific principles owing to the numerous advantages they provide. Throughout the life cycle, many of them thrive in pathogen-rich environments, manage harsh weathers, exposed to a number of allochemicals, and adapt well to both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Their remarkable ability to cope up with the enormous oxidative stress generated in all these circumstances, make them attractive models in this field of research. Endocrine control of oxidative stress in insects is recently emerging. Adipokinetic hormone, glucagon, ecdysteroids and juvenile hormone have been implicated in antioxidative protective role in insects. Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans have provided the largest body of evidence addressing the free radical theory of ageing. Oxidative stress is also induced by pesticides/insecticides. In mollusks, pesticides exert their biological effects via generation of ROS. Oxidative stress has been shown to be associated with exposure to several organophosphorous compounds and different classes of pyrethroids. Malathion is a potential hazard to the environment. Adverse effects induced by malathion in earthworms and insects have been reported. Information is now available in great detail on the role of ROS in modulating insect immunity during parasite invasion and bacterial infection. In Drosophila melanogaster ROS are actively produced in the midgut at a basal level in the presence of commensal microbiota and highly generated upon bacterial challenge. The involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mosquito immunity against bacteria and Plasmodium was investigated in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. The concentration of ROS increased in sand fly midguts after they fed on the insect pathogen Serratia marcescens. Elevated oxidative stress was previously reported for a mosquito line experimentally infected with Wolbachia, indicating that oxidative stress may be important for Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection. In a nutshell, this chapter highlights the current advances of oxidative stress in invertebrate model systems and its implications.
Part of the book: Free Radicals and Diseases