Title page for ETD etd-12212008-211507

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Chowdhury, Soma
Author's Email Address schowd4@lsu.edu
URN etd-12212008-211507
Title Influence of Tick Transmission on the Host Response to Rickettsial Infection
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Pathobiological Sciences (Veterinary Medical Sciences)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kevin R. Macaluso Committee Chair
Karin E. Peterson Committee Co-Chair
Ronald L. Thune Committee Member
  • Rickettsia
  • ticks
  • TLRs
  • immune response
Date of Defense 2008-11-21
Availability unrestricted
Several members of the spotted fever group (SFG) of Rickettsia are transmitted to the host through infected ixodid (hard) ticks, which can serve as both vectors and reservoirs. Multiple studies have demonstrated that ticks secrete proteins into the bite site of the host that suppress innate and adaptive immune responses. While this suppression of immune responses is beneficial to the tick, it may also be beneficial to the transmitted Rickettsia. We hypothesize that Rickettsia utilize the tick’s ability to alter the host immune response at the tick feeding site to successfully establish infection. In the current study, we analyzed how the tick transmission influenced the response to Rickettsia infection by comparing the innate immune response following intradermal versus tick-inoculation of R. amblyommii in the skin. In particular, we analyzed mRNA expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR) and TLR adaptor/effector genes as well as proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Data was analyzed using One-way ANOVA and Newman-Keuls post tests. The results of this study are the first to delineate the immunomodulatory milieu associated with rickettsial infection during the natural route of tick exposure.
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