A Clear and Present Danger: Tick-borne Diseases in Europe

Paul Heyman; Christel Cochez; Agnetha Hofhuis; Joke van der Giessen; Hein Sprong; Sarah Rebecca Porter; Bertrand Losson; Claude Saegerman; Oliver Donoso-Mantke; Matthias Niedrig; Anna Papa


Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010;8(1):33-50. 

In This Article

The Future Silver Bullets: Tick Antigen-based Vaccines

While taking a blood meal, ticks introduce saliva into the host's skin. Tick saliva contains a wide range of physiologically active molecules that are indispensable for attachment to the host, for the transmission of pathogens, and for steering coagulation, fibrinolysis, immunity and inflammation, and angiogenesis.[11] Studying the role of tick salivary proteins for both attachment to the host and pathogen transmission may present an opportunity in the development of tools (e.g., anti-tick vaccines[12]) for the prevention of tick-borne diseases. The idea of a tick antigen-based vaccine is supported by the observation that multiple exposure of certain mammalian species to tick bites results in an inability of ticks to successfully take a blood meal.[13] Humans, as well as other mammals, who become hypersensitive after repeated tick bites[14] are less likely to be infected by tick-borne pathogens.[15] For a detailed overview of the development status of anti-tick vaccines, there is an excellent review available.[16] Tick saliva thus seems a potential source for new molecules that could be useful in clinical practice. However, it remains to be seen whether these specific molecules, which have produced positive results in animal models and in ex vivo experiments in humans, are effective in in vivo studies.