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Blood-sucking leeches have been used for medical purposes in humans for hundreds of years. Accordingly, one of the most prominent species has been named Hirudo medicinalis by Carl Linne in 1758. Feeding on vertebrate blood poses some serious problems to blood-sucking ectoparasites, as they have to penetrate the body surface of the host and to suppress the(More)
Blood-sucking leeches like the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, have been used for medical purposes since ancient times. During feeding, medicinal leeches transfer a broad range of bioactive substances into the host’s wound to prevent premature hemostasis and blood coagulation. Hirudin is probably the best known of these substances. Despite its long(More)
Saliva of hematophagous leeches (Hirudo sp.) contains bioactive proteins which allow the leech proper feeding and storage of ingested blood, but may also exert effects in the host. Leech therapy is used to treat many different ailments in humans, although only a small fraction of salivary proteins are characterized yet. Moreover, we do not know whether(More)
Sanguivorous leeches are ectoparasites having access to body fluids of potential hosts only infrequently. During feeding, salivary proteins are released from unicellular salivary glands into the wound. These substances, among them anti-coagulants, anti-inflammatory or anti-microbial agents, allow these animals proper feeding and long-term storage of host(More)
Haematophagous leeches express a broad variety of bioactive factors that are released from the salivary gland cells into the wound of a host during feeding. Among these, hirudin is probably the best studied factor and, moreover, the only one that has successfully made the transition from nature to clinical use. Many components of the leech saliva still(More)
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