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Int J Parasitol. 1999 Jun;29(6):851-9.

Tick modulation of host immunity: an important factor in pathogen transmission.

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Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078, USA.


Immunological interactions at the tick host interface involve innate and specific acquired host immune defenses and immunomodulatory countermeasures by the tick. Tick feeding stimulates host immune response pathways involving antigen-presenting cells, cytokines, B-cells, T-cells, circulating and homocytotropic antibodies, granulocytes, and an array of biologically active molecules. In response to host immune defenses, tick-mediated host immunosuppressive countermeasures inhibit: host antibody responses; complement activation; T-cell proliferation; and cytokine elaboration by macrophages and Th1-lymphocytes. Immunosuppressive proteins identified in tick salivary glands and saliva have been partially characterised. Tick-induced host immunosuppression facilitates blood meal acquisition and is an important factor in the transmission/establishment of the tick-borne disease-causing agent, Borrelia burgdorferi. A novel strategy for control of tick-borne pathogens is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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