Tick saliva regulates migration, phagocytosis, and gene expression in the macrophage-like cell line, IC-21


We studied the effects of tick saliva on cell migration, cell signaling, phagocytosis, and gene expression in the murine macrophage cell line, IC-21. Saliva increased both basal- and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-stimulated migration in IC-21 cells. However, saliva did not affect PDGF-stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity. Zymosan-mediated interleukin-1 receptor associated kinase (IRAK) activity increased when cells were pretreated with saliva. Saliva suppressed phagocytosis of zymosan particles by IC-21 cells. An RT2 Profiler™ PCR Array revealed that saliva regulates gene expression in a manner consistent with an immune response skewed toward a Th2 reaction, which is characterized by production of anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10. Our results using IC-21 cells suggest that Dermacentor variabilis has evolved a mechanism for regulating macrophage function, which may contribute to the tick's ability to modulate immune function. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Publication Title

Experimental Parasitology