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Research Says, Tick Saliva can be the Potential Medical Adhesive

Published on 2018-04-13. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Natural-based Adhesives    

Bloodsucking parasites that can carry deadly diseases create their own cement to glue themselves to our bodies, a new study says.

Research Says Tick Saliva can be the Potential Medical Adhesive
Research Says Tick Saliva can be the Potential Medical Adhesive

Glue Made of Tick’s Saliva

Hard ticks—a family of 700 species that includes the Lyme-spreading deer tick—use pincer-like appendages and mouths to attach to a host's skin. But sometimes this grip isn't strong enough for the arachnid to hold on and feed while the host moves.

Sylvia Nürnberger and colleagues discovered hard ticks have an extra tool to glom onto their hosts' skin—a kind of glue made of proteins in their saliva.

Repurposing it into a Medical Adhesive

Nürnberger, a researcher at the Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna, said:

"Not all species have it and not all species have it in the same amount.”

The cement discovery could actually benefit humans, she added, as its properties could be repurposed into a medical adhesive.

Properties of Tick Saliva

For the study, the scientists reviewed all existing scientific research on tick saliva, which gave them an expansive view of this previously underreported cement substance.

Tick saliva is complex, containing properties that suppress the immune system of the tick's host to keep them unaware of the intrusion by also suppressing pain and itchiness, according to the study, published in November 2017 in Biological Reviews.

Nürnberger further added:

"In a way, they play with the immune systems of the host."

Source: National Geographic
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