The tick-host-pathogen interface is characterized by complex immunological interactions. Tick feeding induces host immune regulatory and effector pathways involving antibodies, complement, antigen-presenting cells, T lymphocytes, and other bioactive molecules. Acquired resistance impairs tick engorgement, ova production, and viability. Tick countermeasures to host defenses reduce T-lymphocyte proliferation, elaboration of the TH1 cytokines interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma, production of macrophage cytokines interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor, and antibody responses. The dynamic balance between acquired resistance and tick modulation of host immunity affects engorgement and pathogen transmission. A thorough understanding of acquired immunity to ticks is essential for rational development of antitick vaccines.
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