Mites, ticks, anaphylaxis and allergy: The Acari hypothesis

Andrew C. Retzinger*, Gregory S. Retzinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anaphylaxis is a poorly understood immune process in which a Th2-/IgE-mediated adaptive response commandeers cellular machinery, typically reserved for defense against multicellular ectoparasites, to activate against otherwise benign molecules. Its clinical manifestations consist of rapid pathophysiological reflexes that target epithelial surfaces. The galactose-α-1,3-galactose hypersensitivity response is a compelling model of anaphylaxis for which causation has been demonstrated. At the core of the model, a tick bite sensitizes a recipient to a tick foodstuff. As proposed herein, the model likely informs on the origin of all allergic inflammation; namely, allergy is not intended to protect against seemingly harmless and irrelevant materials, but is, instead, intended to rid epithelial surfaces of pathogen-bearing Acari, i.e., mites and ticks. The demonstrated adjuvant activity of acarian gastrointestinal secretions, when paired with the polyphagous diet of mites, renders acarians eminently suited to accounting, mechanistically, for many, if not all, human allergies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110257
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Volume144
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Acari
  • Adjuvant
  • Allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Asthma
  • Etiology
  • Hypothesis
  • Mites
  • Ticks
  • α-gal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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