Immunomodulatory and morphophysiological effects of Rhipicephalus sanguineus s. l. (Acari: Ixodidae) salivary gland extracts

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Rhipicephalus sanguineus s. l. is popularly known as the “brown dog tick” since dogs are its preferential hosts, but the species has been reported to parasitize other mammals, including humans, with significant medical-veterinary importance since it transmits several important pathogenic agents during the feeding period. The tick saliva is a complex mixture that has several functions, including the capability to modulate the hemostatic, inflammatory and immunologic systems of the host, allowing pathogens to settle. Despite knowledge about the immunosuppressive action of tick saliva, little is known about the mechanisms involved in this process and the morphophysiological effects caused by exposure to the salivary gland extract, taking into consideration the different periods of the glandular cycle. Thus, the objective of this study was to analyze the in vitro effects of salivary gland extracts obtained from R. sanguineus s. l. females fed on host rabbits for two (SGE2 – Salivary Gland Extracts of 2 days) and four days (SGE4 – Salivary Gland Extracts of 4 days) on J774 cells (monocyte macrophage cell line) and verify the occurrence of morphological and immunomodulatory alterations in these cells when exposed to different concentrations of these extracts. The results showed that: (i) SGE2 and SGE4 at the concentration of 4 μg/mL presented cytotoxicity to the J774 cells exposed for 24 and 48 hours; (ii) SGE2 at the concentrations of 2 μg/mL(48-hour exposure) and 1 μg/mL (24-hour exposure) and SGE4 at the concentrations of 2 and 1 μg/mL (48-hour exposure) showed proinflammatory activity, confirmed by the increased secretion of NO and proinflammatory cytokine (IL-2), and the presence of morphological characteristics detected by microscopy; and (iii) SGE2 and SGE4 at the concentrations of 0.5 and 0.1 μg/mL had immunomodulatory activity, demonstrated by decreases in the secretion of NO and proinflammatory cytokines (IL2, IL-6 and TNF-α) and increase in the synthesis of IL-10, confirmed by the morphophysiological analysis. These unprecedented data are extremely relevant for future research to identify the processes involved in the ectoparasite-host relationship, as well to develop more efficient tick control strategies.




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Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, v. 207, p. 36-45.

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