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Vaccine. 2008 Dec 9;26(52):6956-64. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.09.072. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Influence of the Ixodes ricinus tick blood-feeding on the antigen-specific antibody response in vivo.

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Laboratory of Human Histology, University of Liege, Avenue de l'Hopital 1, B-4000 Liege, Belgium.


The blood meal of hard ticks such as Ixodes ricinus lasts several days. This is made possible by tick salivary factors that inhibit inflammation, haemostasis and the host immune response. We assessed the latter on a model of immune response in vivo. A significant reduction of specific IgM and IgG levels was observed in BALB/c mice infested 5 days before injection with bovine serum albumin (BSA) and QuilA but not in mice infested 5 days after the immunization. This effect was not observed in mock-infested mice and could not be attributed to the use of anesthetics. The antibody response was not merely delayed and the Th(1)/Th(2) balance appeared not altered. T-dependent zones and germinal centers in lymph nodes draining the tick bite site showed no apparent morphological alterations or shift in T cell subpopulations. However, the spleens of tick-infested mice had also an enlarged red pulp, indicating an increased extramedullary haematopoietic activity.

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