Spitting image: tick saliva assists the causative agent of Lyme disease in evading host skin's innate immune response

J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Oct;129(10):2337-9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.202.


Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted through ticks. Inhibition of host skin's innate immune response might be instrumental to both tick feeding and B. burgdorferi transmission. The article by Marchal et al. describes how tick saliva suppresses B. burgdorferi-induced antimicrobial peptide production. This inhibition directly facilitates survival of the spirochete and might lead to diminished chemotaxis of leukocytes toward the site of the tick bite.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / metabolism
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Lyme Disease / physiopathology*
  • Saliva / physiology*
  • Skin / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides