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Parasite Immunol. 2006 Apr;28(4):131-41.

The immunomodulatory factors of arthropod saliva and the potential for these factors to serve as vaccine targets to prevent pathogen transmission.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, 80523, USA.


In general, attempts to develop vaccines for pathogens transmitted by arthropods have met with little or no success. It has been widely observed that the saliva of arthropods that transmit disease enhances the infectivity of pathogens the arthropod transmits to the vertebrate host. Indeed, it has been observed that vaccinating against components of the saliva of arthropods or against antigens expressed in the gut of arthropods can protect the host from infection and decrease the viability of the arthropod. These results suggest that multi-subunit vaccines that target the pathogen itself as well as arthropod salivary gland components and arthropod gut antigens may be the most effective at controlling arthropod-borne pathogens as these vaccines would target several facets of the lifecycle of the pathogen. This review covers known immunomodulators in arthropod salivary glands, instances when arthropod saliva has been shown to enhance infection and a limited number of examples of antiarthropod vaccines, with emphasis on three arthropods: sandflies, mosquitoes and hard ticks.

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