Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A tick's spit leads to an entire lesson in blood clotting

Date:
July 1, 2013
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
There really is such a thing as tick spit -- that is, the saliva of a tick. And there's something about it that might help fight heart disease and stroke.

There really is such a thing as tick spit -- that is, the saliva of a tick. And there's something about it that might help fight heart disease and stroke.

The link comes from a protein found in the spit of ixodes (ik-SO-deez) ticks, which are also known as blacklegged ticks, or deer ticks.

These kinds of ticks tear their way into skin and feed on their host's blood for several days. They damage small blood vessels, which would normally trigger the body to start a process called coagulation -- or blood clotting.

Clotting is important because it stops bleeding. But it also can play a role in heart attacks and strokes.

That leads back to the ticks, and their spitting.

These ticks spit where they bite their host. In doing so, they project a protein that blocks the body's natural clotting process; it happens similar to the way blood thinners -- or "anticoagulants" -- work.

The new thing researchers have learned is that the two clotting factors, called factor X and factor V, that get blocked by the tick spit end up working together and activating a third clotting element, so the clotting eventually happens.

Scientists already knew which coagulation factors are able to activate Factor V but they didn't know that factor X was extremely important in this process.

Thanks to these ticks -- and their spit -- we have a better understanding of the clotting process.

The result is a new model for blood coagulation, which is an important discovery for our understanding of how clots are formed, why certain anti-clotting drugs help and how new drugs could be developed.

Imagine all that information from those little ticks, and their spit.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Maria M. Aleman; Alisa S. Wolberg. Tick Spit Shines a Light on the Initiation of Coagulation. Circulation, July 1 2013 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.003800
  2. Tim J. Schuijt, Kamran Bakhtiari, Sirlei Daffre, Kathleen DePonte, Simone J. H. Wielders, J. Arnoud Marquart, Joppe W. Hovius, Tom van der Poll, Erol Fikrig, Matthew W. Bunce, Rodney M. Camire, Gerry A. F. Nicolaes, Joost C. M. Meijers, and Cornelis van 't Veer. Factor Xa Activation of Factor V is of Paramount Importance in Initiating the Coagulation System: Lessons from a Tick Salivary Protein. Circulation, July 1 2013 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.003191

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "A tick's spit leads to an entire lesson in blood clotting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701163845.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2013, July 1). A tick's spit leads to an entire lesson in blood clotting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701163845.htm
American Heart Association. "A tick's spit leads to an entire lesson in blood clotting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701163845.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins