How much pilocarpine contaminates pilocarpine-induced tick saliva?

Med Vet Entomol. 2004 Mar;18(1):20-4. doi: 10.1111/j.0269-283x.2003.0469.x.


Pilocarpine is often applied or injected into ticks to induce salivation, and the resulting saliva used to test for various pharmacological, biochemical and immunological activities. To measure the amount of pilocarpine in pilocarpine-induced tick saliva, an HPLC-MS/MS method, based on capillary strong cation exchange chromatography online with an ion trap mass spectrometer, was used to measure pilocarpine in the pg to ng range. Results indicate large concentrations of pilocarpine in Ixodes scapularis Say and Amblyomma americanum (Linnaeus) (Acari: Ixodidae) saliva, ranging from 3 to 50 mm. Due to the known effects of pilocarpine on smooth muscle and immune cells, appropriate controls are proposed and discussed for proper interpretation of results using this saliva preparation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Ixodidae / physiology*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Muscarinic Agonists / analysis*
  • Muscarinic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Pilocarpine / analysis*
  • Pilocarpine / pharmacology
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Salivation / drug effects*


  • Muscarinic Agonists
  • Pilocarpine