From bug to drug: Tick saliva could be key to treating heart disease

ticks

University of Oxford News

 Proteins found in tick saliva could be used to treat a potentially fatal form of heart disease, according to new Oxford University research.

Myocarditis can cause sudden cardiac death in young adults, and occurs when the heart muscle becomes inflamed, often as a result of an infection caused by common viruses. The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, identified a protein within tick saliva which can bind to and neutralise several chemicals called chemokines, which are released in the heart during myocarditis. The chemokines attract cells which cause inflamation, but by neutralising the chemicals, tick saliva could potentially prevent this inflamation.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, identified a protein within tick saliva which can bind to and neutralise several chemokines, potentially preventing chronic inflammatory disease in the process.

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