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In their quest for blood, most haematophagous parasites secrete vasodilators in their saliva to counter the host haemostatic response of vasoconstriction. Surprisingly, salivary gland extracts from adult female Dermacentor reticulatus and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks induced constriction in a rat femoral artery model; males induced vasoconstriction or vasodilation depending on the time of feeding. Based on comparative HPLC fractionation, the active compounds inducing vasoconstriction do not appear to be prostaglandins (which ticks normally use as vasodilators). Vasoconstriction may be unique to ixodid ticks, helping them control blood flow during their prolonged blood-feeding of up to 10 days or more.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Parasitol

Publication Date





879 - 883


Rat femoral artery, Salivary glands, Tick, Vasoactivity, Vasoconstriction, Vasodilation, Animals, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Dermacentor, Female, Femoral Artery, Male, Rats, Rhipicephalus, Salivary Glands, Tissue Extracts, Vasoconstriction, Vasoconstrictor Agents