Dermal mast cell counts in F2 Holstein x Gir crossbred cattle artificially infested with the tick Boophilus microplus (Acari : Ixodidae)
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The role of dermal mast cells (DMC) in the host resistance to ticks has been studied but it is not totally explained yet. Studies have proposed that zebuine cattle breeds, known as highly resistant to ticks, have more DMC than taurine breeds. In the present study, we compared the number of adult female ticks Boophilus microplus and the mast cells' countings in the skin of F-2 crossbred Gir x Holstein cattle, before and after tick infestation. F-2 crossbred cattle (n = 148) were divided into seven groups and artificially infested with 1.0 x 10(4) B. nticroplus larvae and, 21 days afterwards, adult female-fed ticks attached to the skin were counted. Skin biopsies were taken and examined under light microscopy with a square-lined ocular reticulum in a total area of 0.0625 mm(2) in both the superficial and deep dermis. Results demonstrated that infested F-2 crossbred cattle acquired resistance against the cattle-tick B. microplus probably associated to an increase in the dermal mast cell number. It is concluded that the tick infestation may lead to an environmental modification in the dermis of parasitized hosts due to the massive migration of mast cells or their local proliferation.