Background: The insecticide resistance status of the malaria vector Anopheles funestus and the underlying resistance mechanisms remain uncharacterised in many parts of Africa, notably in Benin, West Africa. To fill this gap in our knowledge, we assessed the susceptibility status of a population of this species in Pahou, Southern Benin and investigated the potential resistance mechanisms.
Methodology/principal findings: WHO bioassays revealed a multiple resistance profile for An. funestus in Pahou. This population is highly resistant to DDT with no mortality in females after 1h exposure to 4%DDT. Resistance was observed against the Type I pyrethroid permethrin and the carbamate bendiocarb. A moderate resistance was detected against deltamethrin (type II pyrethroids). A total susceptibility was observed against malathion, an organophosphate. Pre-exposure to PBO did not change the mortality rates for DDT indicating that cytochrome P450s play no role in DDT resistance in Pahou. No L1014F kdr mutation was detected but a correlation between haplotypes of two fragments of the Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel gene and resistance was observed suggesting that mutations in other exons may confer the knockdown resistance in this species. Biochemical assays revealed elevated levels of GSTs and cytochrome mono-oxygenases in Pahou. No G119S mutation and no altered acetylcholinesterase gene were detected in the Pahou population. qPCR analysis of five detoxification genes revealed that the GSTe2 is associated to the DDT resistance in this population with a significantly higher expression in DDT resistant samples. A significant over-expression of CYP6P9a and CYP6P9b previously associated with pyrethroid resistance was also seen but at a lower fold change than in southern Africa.
Conclusion: The multiple insecticide resistance profile of this An. funestus population in Benin shows that more attention should be paid to this important malaria vector for the implementation and management of current and future malaria vector control programs in this country.