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Parasitology. 2004;129 Suppl:S161-76.

Tick immunobiology.

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Institute of Zoology, University of Neuchatel, Emile-Argand 11, CH-2007, Neuchatel, Switzerland.


Ticks are of vast medical and veterinary public health importance due to direct damage caused by feeding and their roles in transmitting well known and emerging infectious agents. Ticks and tick-borne pathogens stimulate the immune system of the host. Those immune interactions are of importance in tick biology, pathogen transmission and control of ticks and tick-borne diseases. Both innate and specific acquired immune defenses are involved in the responses of vertebrate hosts to infestation. Ticks have evolved countermeasures to circumvent host immune defenses. This review addresses the immunobiology of the tick-host interface from the perspectives of the pharmacology of tick saliva; relationship of tick saliva to pathogen transmission; host immune responses to infestation; tick modulation of host immune defences; and genomic/proteomic strategies for studying tick salivary gland molecules.

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