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Studies of tick salivary glands (SGs) and their components have produced a number of interesting discoveries over the last four decades. However, the precise neural and physiological mechanisms controlling SG secretion remain enigmatic. Major studies of SG control have identified and characterized many pharmacological and biological compounds that activate salivary secretion, including dopamine (DA), octopamine, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), ergot alkaloids, pilocarpine (PC), and their pharmacological relatives. Specifically, DA has shown the most robust activities in various tick species, and its effect on downstream actions in the SGs has been extensively studied. Our recent work on a SG dopamine receptor has aided new interpretations of previous pharmacological studies and provided new concepts for SG control mechanisms. Furthermore, our recent studies have suggested that multiple neuropeptides are involved in SG control. Myoinhibitory peptide (MIP) and SIFamide have been identified in the neural projections reaching the basal cells of acini types II and III. Pigment-dispersing factor (PDF)-immunoreactive neural projections reach type II acini, and RFamide- and tachykinin-immunoreactive projections reach the SG ducts, but the chemical nature of the latter three immunoreactive substances are unidentified yet. Here, we briefly review previous pharmacological studies and provide a revised summary of SG control mechanisms in ticks. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ladislav Šimo, Dušan Zitňan, Yoonseong Park. Neural control of salivary glands in ixodid ticks. Journal of insect physiology. 2012 Apr;58(4):459-66

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PMID: 22119563

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