Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Studies on the host-parasite interaction and role of esterases during biting of the Indian cattle leech, Poecilobdella granulosa

  • 17 Accesses


Histochemical localization of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase in the salivary glands has unfolded the significant fact that salivary glands are of two types, one being enzymatically negative and the other showing positive activity. Activity of these enzymes has been linked with the operation of glandular dynamics, particularly concerning the synthetic and secretory processes. The enzymes have been seen localized in the core of jaw. Contrary to it they are absent in the papillary and interpapillary zones of the jaw. Absence of esterases in the papillary and interpapillary ductules has been correlated with its possible non-involvement in the synthesis of vasodilating and anticoagulating materials. The experiments on effect of biting on host tissue give a faint indication of vascular dilation due to bite. Likewise, experiments on enzymatic state of a salivary gland after leech-bite reveal that the diminution of the reactive coverage area in the salivary glands reaches its maximum in the case of ATPase, indicating thereby its more involvement in salivary functions than those of esterases and acid phosphatase.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bauer, O. N.: New findings and new hosts of Acanthobdella pelidina Grub. Zool. Zh. 21, 282–283 (1942)

  2. Bhatia, M. L.: Hirudinaria (the Indian cattle leech). In: K. N. Bahl, ed., The Indian zoology memoire, Vol. VIII. Lucknow: Lucknow Publishing House 1941

  3. Brightman, M. W., Alberts, R. W.: Specific differences in the distribution of extra-neuronal cholinesterase within the vertebrate central nervous system. J. Neurochem. 4, 244–250 (1959)

  4. Dev, B., Mishra, G. C.: Histoenzymology of the salivary complex, and mechanism of biting of the medicinal leech, Poecilobdella granulosa (Savigny, 1822). I. Adenosine triphosphatase. Acta morph. neerl.-scand. 9, 117–124 (1971)

  5. Dev, B., Mishra, G. C.: On the mode of blood sucking by the Indian medicinal leech, Poecilobdella granulosa (Savigny, 1822) and its functional correlation with histoenzymatic and colorimetric studies of biting complex and coordinators. Acta histochem. (Jena) 42 S, 15–28 (1972)

  6. Filsell, O. H., Jarrett, I. G. (1965): Cited in: L. H. Schneyer and C. A. Schneyer, eds., Secretory mechanisms of salivary glands, pp. 1–376. New York-London: Academic Press 1967

  7. Gerebtzoff, M. A.: Cholinesterases. A histochemical constitution to the solution of some functional problems, pp. 1–195. London: Pergamon Press 1959

  8. Gomori, G.: Microscopic histochemistry. Chicago: Chicago University Press 1952

  9. Haycraft, J. B.: On the action of a secretion obtained from the medicinal leech on the coagulation of blood. Proc. roy. Soc. 36, 478–487 (1884)

  10. Lal, M. B., Chowdhury, N. K.: Anticoagulant activity of the Indian cattle leech. Nature (Lond.) 166, 480 (1950)

  11. Lande, V. M. van der: Esterase activity in certain glands of leeches (Annelida: Hirudinea). Comp. Physiol. 25, 447–456 (1968)

  12. Lenggenhager, K.: Das Rätsel des Blutegelbisses. Schweiz. med. Wschr. 9, 227–228 (1936)

  13. Lindemann, B.: Das Verhalten der Kapillaren in der Umgebung des Blutegelbisses. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. exp. Path. Pharmak. 193, 490–502 (1939)

  14. Mann, K. H.: Leeches (Hirudinea). Their structure, physiology, ecology and embryology, Vol. XI. Oxford-London: Pergamon Press 1961

  15. Padykula, H. A., Herman, E.: Factors effecting the activity of adenosine triphosphatase and other phosphatases as measured by histochemical techniques. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 3, 161–169 (1955a)

  16. Padykula, H. A., Herman, E.: The specificity of the histochemical method for adenosinetriphosphatase. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 3, 170–195 (1955b)

  17. Pearse, A. G. E.: Histochemistry, theoretical and applied. London: J. & A. Churchill Ltd. 1968

  18. Peterson, O. H.: Some factors influencing stimulation induced release of potassium from the cat submandibular gland to fluid perfused through the gland. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 208, 431–447 (1970)

  19. Peterson, O. H.: Initiation of salt and water transport in mammalian salivary glands by acetylcholine. Phil. Trans. B 262, 307–314 (1971)

  20. Schneyer, L. H., Schneyer, C. A.: Secretory mechanisms of salivary glands, pp. 1–389. New York: Academic Press 1967

  21. Stammers, F. M. G.: Observations on the behaviour of land leeches. Parasitology 40, 237–245 (1950)

  22. Yanagisawa, H., Yakoi, E.: The purification of hirudin and action principle of Hirudo medicinalis. Proc. imp. Acad. Tokyo 14 (1938)

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mishra, G.C., Dev, B. Studies on the host-parasite interaction and role of esterases during biting of the Indian cattle leech, Poecilobdella granulosa . Z. F. Parasitenkunde 50, 43–51 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00389930

Download citation


  • Salivary Gland
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Coverage Area
  • Host Tissue