Dermacentor variabilis: Resistance to ticks acquired by mast cell-deficient and other strains of mice
Review articleOpen access

AbstractThe acquisition of resistance to ticks was monitored in mice of six different strains. Mice were subjected to repeated infestations with Dermacentor variabilis larvae, different skin sites being used for each successive infestation. In the third and fourth infestations, resistance was expressed in three strains of mice (WBB6F1—WWv, WBB6F1- +/+, and CFW), as demonstrated by significant reductions in percentages of larvae engorging and in mean weights of fed larvae. Both WBB6F1—WWv mice, which are mast cell deficient, and their mast cell-sufficient counterparts acquired resistance, but the mast cell-sufficient strain attained significantly higher levels of resistance. It is suggested that mast cells may play a relatively minor role in the mechanisms of resistance in this strain of mice. C57B1 mice also expressed tick resistance in their third and fourth infestations as measured by reduced percentages of engorged larvae, but not by reduced mean larval weights. Possibly, the mechanisms of tick resistance in this strain differ from those in other strains. Two other mouse strains (C3H-HeJ and C3H-HeSn) remained relatively susceptible to tick feeding throughout five infestations. In secondary infestations of all strains tested, no resistance was evident. Instead, enhanced feeding of larvae appeared to occur. A new objective measurement of tick resistance is the mean weights of detached, unengorged larvae taken from resistant animals at the end of the infestation period. These were found to be consistently less than those from susceptible animals.

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