LYME DISEASE:
MECHANISMS, RESOLUTION AND THERAPEUTIC VACCINATION

A Medline-Literature Survey by Joachim Gruber
Date: February 19, 1999

CONTENTS

  1. RESOLUTION

  2. COMPONENTS OF IMMUNE RESPONSE

  3. OSPA VACCINATION

  4. IMMUNOLOGIC MEMORY

  5. IMMUNE EVASION

  6. VARIABILITY OF SURFACE PROTEINS & PATHOGENESIS

  7. INFECTIVITY


RESOLUTION

Lab Invest 1996 Jan;74(1):57-67

Serum-mediated resolution of Lyme arthritis in mice.

Barthold SW, deSouza M, Feng S

Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8016, USA.

Arthritis and carditis were mildly improved upon adoptive transfer of T cell enriched lymphocyte populations from Borrelia burgdorferi-infected (B. burgdorferi) (immune) compared with naive immunocompetent mice into B. burgdorferi-infected, severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Despite the relative purity of T cells in transferred cells, recipient mice seroconverted to B. burgdorferi. Thus, the effect could not be attributed to T cells alone. Passive transfer of serum from actively infected immunocompetent mice (immune serum) to SCID mice at the time of or before B. burgdorferi inoculation, or on Days 4, 8, and 12 after inoculation prevented or cured (respectively) infection and disease when examined at 15 days. Transfer of immune serum on Days 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28 did no (Bb)resulted in resolution of arthritis, indicating that immune serum can cause resolution of joint disease. Immune serum treatment could maintain arthritis resolution for up to 60 days. Immune serum from mice infected for 90 days or 15 months both had strong protective, post-infection, and arthritis-modulating activity, whereas hyperimmune serum to heat-killed B. burgdorferi or recombinant outer surface protein (Osp) A protected mice against infection when given on Day 0--but not at later intervals--and did not modulate disease. Immune serum from 90-day infected mice labeled spirochetes in joint tissues of SCID mice by immunohistochemistry, but hyperimmune serum to heat-killed B. burgdorferi or OspA did not. These studies suggest that the biologically active properties of immune serum may be directed toward yet to be defined, in vivo-expressed antigens of B. burgdorferi.

PMID: 8569198, UI: 96154150


J Immunol 1996 Jul 1;157(1):1-3

Protective antibodies in murine Lyme disease arise independently of CD40 ligand.

Fikrig E, Barthold SW, Chen M, Grewal IS, Craft J, Flavell RA

Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice develop acute arthritis that undergoes Ab-mediated resolution. To further investigate the role of B. burgdorferi-specific Abs in Lyme borreliosis, CD40 ligand-deficient (CD40L-deficient) mice were infected with B. burgdorferi. The development and regression of arthritis were similar in CD40L-deficient and control mice. Although CD40L-deficient mice have defects in Ig class switching, infected CD40L-deficient mice developed B. burgdorferi-specific IgG2b Abs. Moreover, the transfer of serum from B. burgdorferi-infected CD40L-deficient animals prevented infection in severe combined immunodeficient mice. These data show that B. burgdorferi-infected CD40L-deficient mice are capable of producing Abs that are protective, despite the inability of these mice to mediate T-dependent immune responses.

PMID: 8683101, UI: 96264666


Clin Infect Dis 1997 Jul;25 Suppl 1:S9-17

Protective and arthritis-resolving activity in sera of mice infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.

Barthold SW, Feng S, Bockenstedt LK, Fikrig E, Feen K

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Transfer of immune serum from immunocompetent mice infected with B. burgdorferi protects mice against syringe challenge, and transfer of immune serum after infection is established induces arthritis resolution but does not clear infection or spirochetemia or resolve carditis. Immune serum had very-high-titer passive protective activity against syringe challenge but failed to protect mice against host-adapted spirochetes when they were challenged with infected tissue transplants. Mice were passively immunized at selected intervals relative to challenge inoculation with antisera to recombinant forms of an immunodominant region of flagellin, P39, and OspC (which are recognized by immune serum), but none provided protection or modified existing infection or disease. Results suggest that spirochetes within joints, but not in other tissues, are selectively vulnerable to immune serum and that immune serum appears to contain antibody against yet-to-be-identified antigens that may be selectively expressed in the context of joint tissue.

PMID: 9233658, UI: 97376887


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997 Nov 11;94(23):12533-8

Therapeutic passive vaccination against chronic Lyme disease in mice.

Zhong W, Stehle T, Museteanu C, Siebers A, Gern L, Kramer M, Wallich R, Simon MM

Max-Planck-Institut fur Immunbiologie, Stubeweg 51, D-79108 Freiburg, Germany.

Passive and active immunization against outer surface protein A (OspA) has been successful in protecting laboratory animals against subsequent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Antibodies (Abs) to OspA convey full protection, but only when they are present at the time of infection. Abs inactivate spirochetes within the tick and block their transmission to mammals, but do not affect established infection because of the loss of OspA in the vertebrate host. Our initial finding that the presence of high serum titers of anti-OspC Abs (5 to 10 &mgr;g/ml) correlates with spontaneous resolution of disease and infection in experimentally challenged immunocompetent mice suggested that therapeutic vaccination with OspC may be feasible. We now show that polyclonal and monospecific mouse immune sera to recombinant OspC, but not to OspA, of B. burgdorferi resolve chronic arthritis and carditis and clear disseminated spirochetes in experimentally infected C.B.-17 severe combined immunodeficient mice in a dose-dependent manner. This was verified by macroscopical and microscopical examination of affected tissues and recultivation of spirochetes from ear biopsies. Complete resolution of disease and infection was achieved, independent of whether OspC-specific immune sera (10 microg OspC-specific Abs) were repeatedly given (4x in 3- to 4-day intervals) before the onset (day 10 postinfection) or at the time of fully established arthritis and carditis (days 19 or 60 postinfection). The results indicate that in mice spirochetes constitutively express OspC and are readily susceptible to protective OspC-specific Abs throughout the infection. Thus, an OspC-based vaccine appears to be a candidate for therapy of Lyme disease.

PMID: 9356484, UI: 98024166


J Immunol 1997 Dec 1;159(11):5682-6

Protective antibodies develop, and murine Lyme arthritis regresses, in the absence of MHC class II and CD4+ T cells.

Fikrig E, Barthold SW, Chen M, Chang CH, Flavell RA

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Murine Lyme borreliosis is characterized by arthritis and carditis that are most severe at 2 to 3 wk, then regress during the course of persistent infection. Borrelia burgdorferi-specific Abs and CD4+ T cells have been implicated in the resolution phase of arthritis. Therefore, MHC class II transactivator (CIITA)-deficient mice that do not express conventional class II molecules and lack the normal CD4 repertoire were used to investigate the role of MHC class II-mediated responses in Lyme disease. The development of arthritis and carditis, and the resolution of arthritis, were similar in CIITA-deficient and control C57/BL6 mice. In contrast, the resolution of carditis was delayed in CIITA-deficient animals compared with controls. Moreover, CIITA-deficient mice developed B. burgdorferi-specific IgG2b Abs, and sera from these animals passively protected naive C3H/HeN mice from challenge inoculation and cleared B. burgdorferi from 2 day-infected C.B.17 SCID mice. These data suggest that CD4+ T cells and MHC class II-mediated responses are not required for the generation of protective Abs or the regression of arthritis, but may be important in the resolution of Lyme carditis in mice.

PMID: 9548512, UI: 98208292


COMPONENTS OF IMMUNE RESPONSE

Infect Immun1998 Nov; 66(11):5196-5201.

Lipoprotein release by bacteria: potential factor in bacterial pathogenesis.

Zhang H, Niesel DW, Peterson JW, Gary R

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1070.

Lipoprotein (LP) is a major component of the outer membrane of bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae. LP induces proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages and lethal shock in LPS-responsive and -nonresponsive mice. In this study, the release of LP from growing bacteria was investigated by immuno-dot blot analysis. An immuno-dot blot assay that could detect LP at levels as low as 100 ng/ml was developed. By using this assay, significant levels of LP were detected in culture supernatants of growing Escherichia coli cells. During mid-logarithmic growth, approximately 1 to 1.5 g of LP per ml was detected in culture supernatants from E. coli. In contrast, these culture supernatants contained 5 to 6 g/ml of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LP release was not unique to E. coli. Salmonella typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica, and two pathogenic E. coli strains also released LP during in vitro growth. Treatment of bacteria with the antibiotic ceftazidime significantly enhanced LP release. Culture supernatants from 5-h cultures of E. coli were shown to induce in vitro production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) by macrophages obtained from LPS-nonresponsive C3H/HeJ mice. In contrast, culture supernatants from an E. coli LP-deletion mutant were significantly less efficient at inducing IL-6 production in C3H/HeJ macrophages. These results suggest, for the first time, that LP is released from growing bacteria and that this released LP may play an important role in the induction of cytokine production and pathologic changes associated with gram-negative bacterial infections.


Infect Immun 1998 Jan;66(1):246-258

Borrelia burgdorferi induces the production and release of proinflammatory cytokines in canine synovial explant cultures.

Straubinger AF, Summers BA, Erb HN, Härter L, Appel MJG

James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health, Department of Pathology, and Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.

Canine synovial membrane explants were exposed to high- or low-passage Borrelia burgdorferi for 3, 6, 12, and 24 h. Spirochetes received no treatment, were UV light irradiated for 16 h, or were sonicated prior to addition to synovial explant cultures. In explant tissues, mRNA levels for the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-), interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-1, and IL-8 were surveyed semiquantitatively by reverse transcription-PCR. Culture supernatants were examined for numbers of total and motile (i.e., viable) spirochetes, TNF-like and IL-1-like activities, polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) chemotaxis-inducing activities, and IL-8. During exposure to synovial explant tissues, the total number of spirochetes in the supernatants decreased gradually by ~30%, and the viability also declined. mRNAs for TNF-, IL-1, IL-1, and IL-8 were up-regulated in synovial explant tissues within 3 h after infection with untreated or UV light-irradiated B. burgdorferi, and mRNA levels corresponded to the results obtained with bioassays. During 24 h of coincubation, cultures challenged with untreated or UV light-irradiated spirochetes produced similar levels of TNF-like and IL-1-like activities. In contrast, explant tissues exposed to untreated B. burgdorferi generated significantly higher levels of chemotactic factors after 24 h of incubation than did explant tissues exposed to UV light-treated spirochetes. In identical samples, a specific signal for IL-8 was identified by Western blot analysis. High- and low-passage borreliae did not differ in their abilities to induce proinflammatory cytokines. No difference in cytokine induction between untreated and sonicated high-passage spirochetes was observed, suggesting that fractions of the organism can trigger the production and release of inflammatory mediators. The titration of spirochetes revealed a dose-independent cytokine response, where 103 to 107 B. burgdorferi organisms induced similar TNF-like activities but only 107 spirochetes induced measurable IL-1-like activities. The release of chemotactic factors was dose dependent and was initiated when tissues were infected with at least 105 organisms. We conclude that intact B. burgdorferi or fractions of the bacterium can induce the local up-regulation of TNF-, IL-1, and IL-1 in the synovium but that the interaction of viable spirochetes with synovial cells leads to the release of IL-8, which probably is a prime initiator of PMN migration during acute Lyme arthritis.


Infect Immun 1998 Oct;66(10):4875-83

Borrelia burgdorferi and Interleukin-1 Promote the Transendothelial Migration of Monocytes In Vitro by Different Mechanisms.

Burns MJ, and Furie MB.

Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794.

A prominent feature of Lyme disease is the perivascular accumulationof mononuclear leukocytes. Incubation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cultured on amniotic tissue with either interleukin-1 (IL-1) or Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, increased the rate at which human monocytes migrated across the endothelial monolayers. Very late antigen 4 (VLA-4) and CD11/CD18 integrins mediated migration of monocytes across HUVEC exposed to either B. burgdorferi or IL-1 in similar manners. Neutralizing antibodies to the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) inhibited the migration of monocytes across unstimulated, IL-1-treated, or B. burgdorferi-stimulated HUVEC by 91% 3%, 65% 2%, or 25% 22%, respectively. Stimulation of HUVEC with B. burgdorferi also promoted a 6-fold 2-fold increase in the migration of human CD4+ T lymphocytes. Although MCP-1 played only a limited role in the migration of monocytes across B. burgdorferi-treated HUVEC, migration of CD4+ T lymphocytes across HUVEC exposed to spirochetes was highly dependent on this chemokine. The anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 reduced both migration of monocytes and endothelial production of MCP-1 in response to B. burgdorferi by approximately 50%, yet IL-10 inhibited neither migration nor secretion of MCP-1 when HUVEC were stimulated with IL-1. Our results suggest that activation of endothelium by B. burgdorferi may contribute to formation of the chronic inflammatory infiltrates associated with Lyme disease. The transendothelial migration of monocytes that is induced by B. burgdorferi is significantly less dependent on MCP-1 than is migration induced by IL-1. Selectiveinhibition by IL-10 further indicates that B.burgdorferi and IL-1 employ distinct mechanisms to activate endothelial cells.


Infect Immun 1998 Jun;66(6):2691-7

Borrelia burgdorferi stimulates the production of interleukin-10 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from uninfected humans and rhesus monkeys.

Giambartolomei GH, Dennis VA, Philipp MT

Department of Parasitology, Tulane Regional Primate Research Center, Tulane University Medical Center, Covington, Louisiana 70433, USA.

Heat-killed Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes stimulate in vitro production of interleukin-10 (IL-10) at both mRNA and protein levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of uninfected rhesus monkeys. A concomitant down-modulation of IL-2 gene transcription was observed. Neither IL-4 nor gamma interferon gene expression was ostensibly affected by B. burgdorferi spirochetes. These phenomena were observed regardless of whether the stimulating spirochetes belonged to the B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, or Borrelia garinii genospecies, the three main species that cause Lyme disease. B. burgdorferi also induced production of IL-10 in uninfected human PBMC, indicating that this effect might play a role in human Lyme disease. Purified lipidated outer surface protein A (OspA), but not its unlipidated form, induced the production of high levels of IL-10 in uninfected human PBMC. Thus, the lipid moiety is essential in the induction of IL-10 in these PBMC. B. burgdorferi M297, a mutant strain that lacks the plasmid that encodes OspA and OspB, also induced IL-10 gene transcription in PBMC, indicating that this phenomenon is not causally linked exclusively to OspA and its lipid moiety. These results demonstrate that B. burgdorferi can stimulate the production of an antiinflammatory, immunosuppressive cytokine in naive cells and suggest that IL-10 may play a role both in avoidance by the spirochete of deleterious immune responses and in limiting the inflammation that the spirochete is able to induce.

PMID: 9596735, UI: 98261514


Infect Immun 1999 Jan;67(1):443-5

Killing of Borrelia burgdorferi by antibody elicited by OspA vaccine is inefficient in the absence of complement.

Nowling JM, Philipp MT

Department of Parasitology, Tulane Regional Primate Research Center, Tulane University Medical Center, Covington, Louisiana 70433, USA.

A Lyme disease vaccine, based on the Borrelia burgdorferi lipoprotein OspA, has recently undergone phase III trials in humans. The results of one of these trials indicate that vaccine efficacy positively correlates with anti-OspA antibody titer. Spirochete killing within the tick vector midgut, upon which vaccine efficacy appears to depend, may occur chiefly via a mechanism that involves antibody alone, as it has been reported that complement is degraded by tick saliva decomplementing factors. We compared the in vitro killing efficiencies of anti-OspA antibody elicited in rhesus monkeys by the OspA vaccine, in the presence and in the absence of monkey complement. Killing in the absence of complement was between 14 and 3,800 times less efficient than with complement present, depending on the spirochete strain. The relative inefficiency of the complement-independent killing mechanism by anti-OspA antibody may explain why OspA vaccine efficacy is critically dependent on antibody titer.

PMID: 9864253, UI: 99081780


FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 1997 Sep;19(1):15-23

Activation of monocytes by three OspA vaccine candidates: lipoprotein OspA is a potent stimulator of monokines.

Haupl T, Landgraf S, Netusil P, Biller N, Capiau C, Desmons P, Hauser P, Burmester GR

Department of Medicine III, Charite, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. thomas.haeupl@rz.hu-berlin.de

The outer surface protein (Osp) A of Borrelia burgdorferi is the first Lyme antigen to be tested in a vaccine for humans. Three forms of OspA vaccine candidates were investigated by the induction of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-1 beta, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, IL-10 and interferon (IFN)-gamma as markers of monocyte activation and immune stimulation: lipidated OspA (L-OspA), non-lipidated OspA (NL-OspA), and a fusion protein of 81 amino acids of the nonstructural protein 1 of influenza virus with OspA (NS1-OspA). All OspA preparations induced IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha in a concentration-dependent manner with peak levels at 12-24 h. These cytokines were entirely derived from the monocyte fraction. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 10 healthy donors, L-OspA at 10 micrograms ml-1 induced up to 4-fold more IL-1 beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha than the other OspA preparations (P < or = 0.0068), followed by NS1-OspA, which was still superior to NL-OspA. L-OspA. L-OspA also induced high levels of IL-10 within 24 h but no significant amounts of IFN-gamma. This superior stimulating activity of L-OspA on unstimulated monocytes predominantly depended on N-terminal lipidation of OspA. Similarities to other lipoproteins and synthetic lipopeptides suggest that lipidation confers adjuvant properties on OspA. High induction of IL-10 by L-OspA further suggested a negative feedback on monocyte activation by the lipidated form. The in vitro results are in line with in vivo results in mice, monkeys and humans and indicates that lipoprotein OspA has the best potential for induction of a protective effect in humans, compared to non-lipidated antigens.

PMID: 9322065, UI: 97463281


Infect Immun 1992 Feb;60(2):657-61

Roles of OspA, OspB, and flagellin in protective immunity to Lyme borreliosis in laboratory mice.

Fikrig E, Barthold SW, Marcantonio N, Deponte K, Kantor FS, Flavell RA

Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.

Vaccination with recombinant outer surface protein A (OspA) has been shown to protect mice from infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent. To determine whether antibodies to B. burgdorferi proteins other than OspA are involved in protective immunity, antibodies to OspA were removed from protective anti-B. burgdorferi serum; the residual serum was still protective. Absorption of OspA and OspB antibodies from anti-B. burgdorferi serum eliminated the protective effect. Therefore, active immunization experiments were performed to determine the roles of OspB and flagellin in protective immunity and to determine whether protective immunity induced by OspA is dose dependent. Active immunization with recombinant OspA protected mice from infection with an inoculum of 10(4) spirochetes, but this protection could be overcome with a challenge of 10(7) spirochetes; OspB protected mice from infection with an inoculum of 10(3) spirochetes but was insufficient to fully protect against 10(4) organisms; and immunization with flagellin had no protective effect. These studies suggest that OspA and OspB, but not flagellin, play roles in protective immunity to spirochete infection.

PMID: 1730500, UI: 92112335


Infect Immun 1999 Jan;67(1):173-81

The immunoglobulin (IgG) antibody response to OspA and OspB correlates with severe and prolonged Lyme arthritis and the IgG response to P35 correlates with mild and brief arthritis.

Akin E, McHugh GL, Flavell RA, Fikrig E, Steere AC

Division of Rheumatology/Immunology, Tufts University School of Medicine, New England Medical Center, Tupper Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

In an effort to implicate immune responses to specific Borrelia burgdorferi proteins that may have a role in chronic Lyme arthritis, we studied the natural history of the antibody response to B. burgdorferi in serial serum samples from 25 patients monitored throughout the course of Lyme disease. In these patients, the immunoglobulin G (IgM) and IgG antibody responses to 10 recombinant B. burgdorferi proteins, determined during early infection, early arthritis, and maximal arthritis, were correlated with the severity and duration of maximal arthritis. The earliest responses were usually to outer surface protein C (OspC), P35, P37, and P41; reactivity with OspE, OspF, P39, and P93 often developed weeks later; and months to years later, 64% of patients had responses to OspA and OspB. During early infection and early arthritis, the levels of IgG antibody to P35 correlated inversely with the subsequent severity or duration of maximal arthritis. In contrast, during periods of maximal arthritis, the levels of IgG antibody to OspA and OspB, especially to a C-terminal epitope of OspA, correlated directly with the severity and duration of arthritis. Thus, the higher the IgG antibody response to P35 earlier in the infection, the milder and briefer the subsequent arthritis, whereas during maximal arthritis, the higher the IgG response to OspA and OspB, the more severe and prolonged the arthritis.

PMID: 9864212, UI: 99081739


Infect Immun 1997 Mar;65(3):882-9

Reactivity with a specific epitope of outer surface protein A predicts protection from infection with the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi.

Golde WT, Piesman J, Dolan MC, Kramer M, Hauser P, Lobet Y, Capiau C, Desmons P, Voet P, Dearwester D, Frantz JC

National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522, USA.

The response to recombinant vaccines for Lyme disease was studied to determine serum antibody levels effective in protecting against tick-transmitted infection. Data presented here demonstrate a significant correlation between antibody to an epitope on outer surface protein A (OspA) and protection against infection with Borrelia burgdorferi in canines and mice. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed to measure antibody to a site on OspA, defined by monoclonal antibody LA-2. Comparison of LA-2 titers against infection of canines and mice following vaccination and challenge established a predicted value for LA-2 titers. The statistical relationship between serum antibody levels and protection was calculated by logistic regression analysis. The statistical model predicted that an LA-2 titer of 0.32 microg equivalents (eq) per ml correlated to an 80% predicted probability of protection for both mice and dogs. This value was used to classify mice and dogs as to their protected status at the time of tick exposure. The LA-2 cutoff titer (0.32 microg eq/ml) correctly classified all dogs (n = 13) and mice (n = 44) that failed to become infected. By contrast, 20 of 22 dogs and 28 of 31 mice with titers of less than 0.32 microg eq/ml became infected. On the basis of these results, we conclude that an LA-2 titer is a reliable indicator of immune status for estimating immune protection following use of OspA-based vaccines for B. burgdorferi sensu stricto.

PMID: 9038292, UI: 97190137


Infect Immun 1992 Mar;60(3):1109-13

In vitro and in vivo induction of tumor necrosis factor alpha by Borrelia burgdorferi.

Defosse DL, Johnson RC

Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.

Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is an immunoregulatory cytokine with many biological activities including the mediation of inflammation. We examined sera and synovial fluids from patients seropositive for infection with Borrelia burgdorferi using a radioimmunoassay specific for TNF-alpha. Significant elevation of TNF-alpha was found in the sera and synovial fluids of patients examined, while controls showed no elevation. Sera of mice infected with B. burgdorferi contained elevated levels of TNF-alpha which varied during the course of a 24-day infection. To determine whether B. burgdorferi is capable of inducing TNF-alpha production, spirochetes were added to adherent human peripheral blood mononuclear cells or mouse peritoneal exudate cells and 24 h later supernatants were assayed. TNF-alpha induction occurred in a dose-dependent manner. The maximum stimulation occurred when a ratio of 1 to 10 spirochetes per mononuclear cell was used. At optimal concentrations, induction was not diminished by inactivation of spirochetes or pretreatment with polymyxin B. These results suggest that an increase in TNF-alpha production may occur as a result of infection with B. burgdorferi.

PMID: 1541526, UI: 92175954


J Immunol 1995 Aug 15;155(4):2020-8

Role of IL-4 and IFN-gamma in modulation of immunity to Borrelia burgdorferi in mice.

Keane-Myers A, Nickell SP

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Because T cells appear to modulate the severity of murine Borrelia burgdorferi infections, we decided to examine the possible involvement of T cell-associated cytokines in disease outcome. Comparison of in vitro B. burgdorferi Ag-induced cytokine production in disease-susceptible and -resistant strains revealed striking differences; spleen cells from susceptible C3H mice produced significantly higher levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma and lower levels of IL-4 than spleen cells from resistant BALB/c mice. Lymph node responses were even more divergent, with C3H mice producing high levels of IFN-gamma, and BALB/c mice producing little or none. This apparent Th1/Th2 cytokine imbalance was also reflected in vivo, since serum from C3H had significantly higher levels of B. burgdorferi-specific IgG2a Ab and lower levels of IgG1 Ab than serum from BALB/c mice. In vivo studies confirmed the importance of IL-4 in early control of spirochete growth, since treatment of either strain with neutralizing anti-IL-4 mAb led to increased joint swelling and higher spirochete burdens in joints compared with those in control mAb-treated mice. In contrast, IFN-gamma may hinder early control of spirochete growth in susceptible C3H mice, since treatment of mice with neutralizing anti-IFN-gamma mAb reduced both joint swelling and joint spirochete burdens compared with those in control mAb-treated mice. These studies indicate opposing roles for IL-4 and IFN-gamma in the modulation of spirochete growth and disease development in B. burgdorferi-infected mice and suggest that differential cytokine production early in infection may contribute to strain-related differences in susceptibility.

PMID: 7636253, UI: 95363169


J Rheumatol 1992 Apr;19(4):573-8

Immunoregulatory effects of Borrelia burgdorferi on T-B cell interactions.

Goronzy JJ, Hanson TL, Weyand CM

Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic/Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905.

Late stages of Lyme borreliosis are characterized by a disproportionate inflammatory response presumably elicited by only minute amounts of persisting antigen. To explore the possibility that amplification mechanisms of the immune response shape disease manifestations, we studied immunoregulatory properties of Borrelia burgdorferi antigens and analyzed whether they influence B cell-T cell cooperation. B. burgdorferi was found to induce peripheral resting B cells to function as effective antigen presenting cells for B. burgdorferi sonicate (Bb) and unrelated third party antigens. Morphologically and phenotypically, pulsed B cells represented small resting B cells and did not acquire activation markers. These data suggest that distinct antigen-presenting cells are involved in B. burgdorferi induced immune responses. B lymphocytes may play a crucial role in amplifying T cell responses, especially by recruiting antigen specific and nonspecific T cells to regions where minute amounts of spirochetal antigens are present.

PMID: 1375647, UI: 92277576


J Infect Dis 1998 Nov;178(5):1512-5

Borrelia burgdorferi-infected, interleukin-6-deficient mice have decreased Th2 responses and increased lyme arthritis.

Anguita J, Rincon M, Samanta S, Barthold SW, Flavell RA, Fikrig E

Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Recently, interleukin (IL)-6 was shown to be one of the earliest factors that trigger the differentiation of naive T cells into effector Th2 cells in vitro. Lyme arthritis was studied in IL-6-deficient mice, since joint inflammation is influenced by the T helper cell response against Borrelia burgdorferi. Arthritis incidence increased in B. burgdorferi-infected IL-6-deficient mice compared with that in controls. Furthermore, splenocytes of B. burgdorferi-infected IL-6-deficient mice produced significantly less IL-4 in response to Borrelia antigens than did C57BL/6 (B6) mice, and B. burgdorferi-specific IgG2b levels were significantly reduced in IL-6-deficient mice at 60 days of infection. These results extend previous in vitro observations by demonstrating an in vivo role for IL-6 in the differentiation of CD4 T cells toward a Th2 phenotype and further show that CD4 T cell responses influence murine Lyme arthritis.

PMID: 9780277, UI: 98453473


Infect Immun 1994 Feb;62(2):520-8

Normal human B lymphocytes and mononuclear cells respond to the mitogenic and cytokine-stimulatory activities of Borrelia burgdorferi and its lipoprotein OspA.

Tai KF, Ma Y, Weis JJ

Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132.

Borrelia burgdorferi produces potent cell-activating molecules capable of stimulating polyclonal proliferation and immunoglobulin production by murine B lymphocytes and cytokine production by a variety of cell types. These stimulatory molecules function in infected mice, resulting in elevated levels of circulating immunoglobulins and serum interleukin-6. We have recently demonstrated that the purified outer surface lipoproteins OspA and OspB possess these properties. To assess their possible involvement in human disease, we determined whether cells from normal human donors could respond to these activities. Normal human B lymphocytes but not T lymphocytes proliferated when incubated with either sonicated B. burgdorferi or purified OspA. Sonicated B. burgdorferi was efficient at stimulating immunoglobulin M production by human mononuclear cell cultures; however, purified OspA was relatively inactive. Both sonicated B. burgdorferi and purified OspA stimulated production of high levels of interleukin-6 by mononuclear cells. These findings extend our observations with the mouse model and suggest that the stimulatory lipoproteins could indeed be involved in the symptoms and pathologies of human infection with B. burgdorferi.

PMID: 8300210, UI: 94131586


Infect Immun 1993 Sep;61(9):3843-53

Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface lipoproteins OspA and OspB possess B-cell mitogenic and cytokine-stimulatory properties.

Ma Y, Weis JJ

Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132.

Sonicated Borrelia burgdorferi was previously reported to possess both B-cell mitogenic and interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulatory activities. In this report, two outer surface lipoproteins, OspA and OspB, were purified from B. burgdorferi and assessed for the presence of these functions. OspA was purified from two strains, an OspB-deficient variant of HB19 and N40, while OspB was purified from the N40 strain. All lipoprotein preparations were free of endotoxin contamination, and polymyxin B failed to inhibit responses, indicating that media contamination was not contributing to biological assays. All three preparations were able to stimulate proliferation of mononuclear cells from naive C3H/HeJ and BALB/c mice. Depletion experiments indicated that the responding cells were B lymphocytes and not T lymphocytes. Purified OspA and OspB stimulated immunoglobulin M production by splenocyte cultures from naive mice, a property also previously attributed to sonicated B. burgdorferi. OspA and OspB also stimulated the production of IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha by bone marrow-derived macrophages from BALB/c and C3H/HeJ mice. Cytokine production was enhanced by the presence of gamma interferon in the cultures, indicating that the magnitude of responses to these lipoproteins may be modulated by cytokines in the microenvironment of infected tissues. Human endothelial cells produced IL-6 when incubated with OspA and OspB, indicating that non-hematopoietic lineage cells can respond to the lipoproteins. Purified OspA and OspB had approximately equal activity, with responses detected in the range of 10 ng of lipoprotein per ml to 1 microgram of lipoprotein per ml. Comparison with published dose responses for lipoproteins purified from Escherichia coli indicates that OspA and OspB purified from B. burgdorferi are much more potent. The high potency of the B. burgdorferi lipoproteins and the ability of the spirochete to invade tissues and persist argue that they could be important in the localized events contributing to the pathology of Lyme disease.

PMID: 8359905, UI: 93366445


J Clin Immunol 1997 Sep;17(5):354-65

Host-pathogen interactions in the immunopathogenesis of Lyme disease.

Hu LT, Klempner MS

Tupper Research Institute, Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

The immunopathogenesis of Lyme disease is complicated and requires a thorough understanding of the interaction among the causative organism, Borrelia burgdorferi, its tick vector, and its mammalian hosts. In vitro, animal and human studies have shown that the organism is capable of adapting to and utilizing elements from its environment to establish infection and persist despite a inducing a strong immune response. Indeed, the immune response may be responsible for many of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease. It appears that humoral immunity plays the greatest role in clearance of the organism. Cytokines released by Th 1 or Th 2 subsets of CD4+ cells have been shown to play an important role in determining outcome of the disease in animal models possibly through their effects on immunoglobulin class switching. In the small percentage of patients who have treatment resistant chronic Lyme disease, autoimmune mechanisms may play a role in persistent disease.

Publication Types:

PMID: 9327334, UI: 97468218


Infect Immun 1997 Aug;65(8):3107-11

T-helper-cell cytokines in the early evolution of murine Lyme arthritis.

Kang I, Barthold SW, Persing DH, Bockenstedt LK

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.

Genetic susceptibility to murine Lyme arthritis has been correlated with the dominance of T-helper (Th1)- or Th2-cell-associated cytokines. To determine when commitment of the Th cell phenotype occurs, we examined the kinetics of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production by lymph node T cells of disease-susceptible C3H/HeN and disease-resistant BALB/c mice from days 2 through 30 of infection, a period encompassing the evolution of disease and early regression. BALB/c mice produced more IFN-gamma on day 2 of infection than did C3H/HeN mice, whereas IL-4 was first detected on day 14. In contrast, only IFN-gamma could be detected in C3H/HeN mice, and the levels steadily increased from day 2 to surpass those seen in BALB/c mice by day 14 of infection. Despite the difference in cytokine profiles, both BALB/c and C3H/HeN mice developed comparable arthritis assessed at 14 days of infection. Arthritis regressed by day 30 in BALB/c mice but persisted in C3H/HeN mice. These studies are the first to demonstrate that the Th2 response to Borrelia burgdorferi infection of BALB/c mice is preceded by a Th1 cytokine response. Moreover, the timing of the appearance of IL-4 suggests that its primary effect is not in preventing disease, as suggested by others, but, rather, in hastening the resolution of inflammation. The implications of these findings for the orchestration of host defense against B. burgdorferi infection are discussed.

PMID: 9234761, UI: 97378080


OSPA VACCINATION

Infect Immun 1993 Jun;61(6):2553-7

OspA vaccination of mice with established Borrelia burgdorferi infection alters disease but not infection.

Fikrig E, Barthold SW, Flavell RA

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.

C3H mice were actively immunized with outer surface protein A (OspA) at different intervals after infection with Borrelia burgdorferi to determine the effect of postexposure vaccination on the course of murine Lyme borreliosis. Mice were vaccinated with an OspA-glutathione transferase fusion protein or glutathione transferase (control) in complete Freund's adjuvant; vaccination was followed by two weekly booster injections in incomplete adjuvant. Two weeks after the final booster injection, organs were cultured for B. burgdorferi (blood, spleen, skin, and bladder) and examined for histopathology (joints and hearts). When vaccination was commenced in the early stages (5 to 14 days) of infection, active immunization with OspA partially cleared spirochetes from the bloodstream but did not eliminate them from other tissues or alter the course of joint or heart disease. Commencement of vaccination at 60 days after infection (at which time joint or heart disease is resolving), however, reduced both the number of mice and individual joints with arthritis, a result suggesting an acceleration of the resolution phase of the disease. Postexposure immunization with OspA may partially alter the course of murine Lyme arthritis but does not eliminate infection.

PMID: 8500891, UI: 93273509


Behring Inst Mitt 1991 Feb;(88):59-67

A mouse model for Borrelia burgdorferi infection: pathogenesis, immune response and protection.

Schaible UE, Wallich R, Kramer MD, Museteanu C, Simon MM

Max-Planck-Institut fur Immunobiologie, Freiburg, Germany.

Viable Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) organisms induce a chronic infection associated with arthritis, carditis and hepatitis in severe combined immunodeficiency (scid) mice but not in most of the adult mice from the various immunocompetent inbred strains tested. Furthermore, we have found that experimental inoculation of normal mice with B. burgdorferi organisms leads to the generation of antibodies and T cells specific for various spirochetal antigens including the outer surface proteins A and B (OspA, OspB) as well as flagellin. The assumption of a protective role of the immune response during B. burgdorferi infection in mice is supported by our recent findings that passively transferred B. burgdorferi-specific immune mouse sera as well as monoclonal antibodies to OspA are able to prevent the development of the disease in scid mice. We show now that purified OspA protein both in its native and recombinant form is immunogenic and that the antibodies generated are able to confer protection to scid mice against B. burgdorferi infection.

PMID: 2049047, UI: 91264755


IMMUNOLOGIC MEMORY

Vaccine 1996 Oct;14(14):1366-74

Safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity of a recombinant Osp subunit canine Lyme disease vaccine.

Ma J, Hine PM, Clough ER, Fish D, Coughlin RT, Beltz GA, Shew MG

Science and Technology, Mallinckrodt Veterinary, Inc., Mundelein IL 60060, USA.

A subunit canine Lyme disease vaccine formulated with recombinant lipidated Osp A and OspB and saponin QS21 was assessed for safety, protective efficacy, and immunogenicity. Ten normal beagles were subcutaneously vaccinated twice at age 12 and 16 weeks, respectively. Three months after the second vaccination, the vaccinates and another 10 nonvaccinated control beagles were challenged by feeding ticks on each dog for 5 days using eight field-collected adult female and six adult male Ixodes scapularis infected with Lyme disease spirochetes per dog. Adverse reactions associated with the vaccinations were limited to injection site swellings which occurred within the first 48 h and resolved within a week. The local reaction was independent of vaccination times and tick challenge. On the basis of typical clinical signs, xenodiagnosis, and diagnostic immunoblotting, all 10 controls were infected; five developed lameness and three of them experienced at least two to three episodes of limping during a 10-month monitoring period. In contrast, eight of ten vaccinates were protected and two infected vaccinates, as judged by xenodiagnosis, were asymptomatic. None of the protected vaccinates developed antibodies to diagnostic spirochetal antigens other than OspA and OspB. In contrast, most controls produced antibodies to borrelial antigens, but not to OspA and OspB. Antibody production in vaccinates receiving a third vaccination 10 months postchallenge was greatly boosted; the geometric mean antibody titer was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than that tested prechallenge. Thus, the subunit canine Lyme disease vaccine was safe and protective and elicited immunological memory. Vaccinated dogs were serologically distinguishable from those naturally exposed.

PMID: 9004447, UI: 97158175


IMMUNE EVASION

J Infect Dis 1998 Feb;177(2):395-400

Immune evasion by tickborne and host-adapted Borrelia burgdorferi.

de Silva AM, Fikrig E, Hodzic E, Kantor FS, Telford SR 3rd, Barthold SW

Center for Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.

Immune sera from mice infected with the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, have strong biologic activity against spirochetes cultured in vitro. Recent studies with rodents and ticks infected with B. burgdorferi indicate that spirochetes undergo major changes in protein expression as they adapt to the diverse environments encountered by a vectorborne pathogen. The purpose of this study was to explore the susceptibility of three different adaptive forms of B. burgdorferi (in vitro cultured, host-derived, and tickborne) to immune sera. Passive transfer of immune sera protected mice when they were challenged with spirochetes cultured in vitro. Immune sera did not protect mice from tickborne spirochetes or spirochetes derived from infected mice. These results indicate that spirochetes that have adapted within either the feeding tick or host are relatively invulnerable to the protective effects of immune sera, unlike spirochetes grown in vitro, which are highly susceptible.

PMID: 9466527, UI: 98126003


VARIABILITY OF SURFACE PROTEINS & PATHOGENESIS

J Exp Med 1994 Feb 1;179(2):631-42

Variability of a bacterial surface protein and disease expression in a possible mouse model of systemic Lyme borreliosis.

Cadavid D, Thomas DD, Crawley R, Barbour AG

Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284.

During persistent infection of scid mice with Borrelia turicatae, an agent of relapsing fever and neuroborreliosis, there was variation in the surface proteins the bacteria expressed and in disease manifestations over time. Two serotypes, A and B, were isolated from the mice, cloned by limiting dilution, and further characterized. The only discernible difference between the two variants was in the size of the major surface protein they expressed: serotype A had a variable major protein (Vmp) of 23,000, and serotype B had a Vmp of 20,000. When other scid mice were inoculated with clonal populations of A and B, the infections were similar with respect to onset and degree of spirochetemia, involvement of the eye and heart, and occurrence of a peripheral vestibular disorder. However, there were differences between the serotypes in other respects: (a) serotype B but not A caused reddened and significantly enlarged joints, markedly impaired performance on a walking bar, and severe arthritis by histologic examination; (b) serotype A but not B invaded the central nervous system during early infection; and (c) serotype A penetrated monolayers of human umbilical vein endothelial cells more readily than did serotype B. The combination of arthritis, myocarditis, and neurologic disease resembled human Lyme borreliosis. The findings indicate that differences in disease expression are determined by variable surface proteins of the bacterium and that scid mouse infections with B. turicatae provide a model for the study of the pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis and other persistent spirochetal diseases.

PMID: 8294872, UI: 94125044


J Immunol 1995 Dec 15;155(12):5700-4

An ospA frame shift, identified from DNA in Lyme arthritis synovial fluid, results in an outer surface protein A that does not bind protective antibodies.

Fikrig E, Liu B, Fu LL, Das S, Smallwood JI, Flavell RA, Persing DH, Schoen RT, Barthold SW, Malawista SE

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8031, USA.

Passive immunization with murine or human Abs to outer surface protein A (OspA) can protect mice against Borrelia burgdorferi, but OspA Abs elicited during natural infection in mice or humans are unable to clear the spirochete from the infected host. To examine Ab binding by OspA during the course of human infection, we amplified the operon encoding full-length ospA and ospB from synovial fluids of a patient with chronic Lyme arthritis, the first such recoveries from human material, at four separate time points over 4.5 mo, and expressed OspA in Escherichia coli. OspA mAbs that passively protected mice from infection did not bind one of the expressed OspAs, because of a deletion in ospA that resulted in a frame shift and premature stop codon near the carboxyl terminus. However, expressed OspA from a later synovial fluid sample did not contain this deletion. Thus, although altered forms of OspA, which potentially can influence host immune effectiveness, do occur in the human host, they cannot be the only factors responsible for microbial persistence.

PMID: 7499856, UI: 96094464


INFECTIVITY

Microbiol Immunol 1994;38(8):621-7

Infectivity and early antibody response to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato isolated in Japan in outbred mice.

Masuzawa T, Kurita T, Kawabata H, Muramatsu K, Uchikawa K, Yanagihara Y

Department of Microbiology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Japan.

Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato isolated from Ixodes ovatus (B. japonica), I. persulcatus and patients with erythema migrans (EM) in Japan were determined on infectivity and arthritis induction-activity in outbred mice. Infectivity of B. japonica was weak and did not induce the development of footpad swelling by subcutaneous (s.c.) inoculation into the footpad. Challenged strain, NO129-M of B. japonica, to ddY mice were reinoculated to the mice at various cell numbers (1 x 10-1 x 10(6) cells/mouse). The strain isolated from the mouse did not reinfect ddY mice and did not induce the production of specific antibody to the homologous strain. On the other hand, strains from I. persulcatus and patients with EM in Japan infected the mice and induced a serious inflammatory response in Borrelia-inoculated footpad as well as strains belonging to the three genospecies, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii, and B. afzelii, related to Lyme disease, from North America and Europe. The mice were infected with 10 cells of strain HP1 isolated from I. persulcatus in Hokkaido and of strain 297 isolated from a patient in the U.S.A. by subcutaneous inoculation into the hind footpad, or by intradermal inoculation into the back. Antigens of ca. 20, 23-24 (Osp C), 29, 39, 41 (flagellin) and 45 kDa reacted with the pooled sera from mice inoculated with strains HP1 and 297, but Osp A and Osp B did not.

PMID: 7799835, UI: 95097849


J Clin Microbiol 1990 Dec;28(12):2693-9

Infectious but nonpathogenic isolate of Borrelia burgdorferi.

Anderson JF, Barthold SW, Magnarelli LA

Department of Entomology, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven 06504.

We document for the first time an infectious but nonarthritogenic variant of Borrelia burgdorferi. Strain 25015, previously isolated from an Ixodes dammini larva collected in upstate New York, was infectious but failed to produce arthritis or carditis in laboratory rats and mice. By contrast, pathogenic strain N40 invariably caused arthritis. This nonarthritogenic variant, with proteins with molecular weights different from those of the standard B31 strain, was frequently isolated from normal joint tissues of experimentally infected rats. Outer surface proteins A and B of strain 25015 have molecular weights of about 32,500 and 35,500, respectively, in contrast to molecular weights of approximately 31,000 and 34,000, respectively, for outer surface proteins A and B of strains B31 and N40. A prominent low-molecular-weight protein of about 23,500 also characterizes strain 25015. Test animals infected for 30 to 60 days had relatively high antibody titers (greater than or equal to 1:1,280). The nonarthritogenic variant will be useful, along with pathogenic strains, in providing comparative insight into the pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis. Homologous immunoblotting of sera from rats and mice inoculated with both the arthritogenic and nonarthritogenic strains revealed antibody reactivities to proteins of B. burgdorferi different from those revealed in the heterologous tests.

PMID: 2280000, UI: 91123375


J Infect Dis 1996 Sep;174(3):627-30

Pentoxifylline fails to prevent the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction or associated cytokine release.

Remick DG, Negussie Y, Fekade D, Griffin G

Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (JHR) observed after antibiotic treatment of relapsing fever caused by Borrelia recurrentis is associated with the systemic appearance of cytokines. The decrease of cytokine production and block of JHR was attempted by administering pentoxifylline prior to antibiotic treatment. Fifteen patients with confirmed relapsing fever were infused intravenously with pentoxifylline 90 min before intramuscular injection of penicillin; 4 patients were not treated with pentoxifylline. All patients developed JHR to varying degrees. Treatment with pentoxifylline failed to prevent fever, increase in pulse, respiration, or blood pressure, or decrease in white blood cell count. No reduction of circulating levels of tumor necrosis factor, interleukin 6, or interleukin-8 was observed with pentoxifylline treatment. Pentoxifylline did not prevent clearance of the B. recurrentis spirochetes. Thus, pentoxifylline treatment of patients with relapsing fever fails to prevent or diminish JHR or the associated cytokine release observed after appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Publication Types:

PMID: 8769625, UI: 96365448


Infect Immun 1998 May;66(5):2143-2153

Active and Passive Immunity against Borrelia burgdorferi Decorin Binding Protein A (DbpA) Protects against Infection

Mark S. Hanson, David R. Cassatt, Betty P. Guo, Nita K. Patel, Michael P. McCarthy, David W. Dorward, and Magnus Höök

MedImmune, Inc., Gaithersburg, Maryland 208781; Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Center for Extracellular Matrix Biology, Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University, Houston, Texas 770302; and Microscopy Branch, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana 598403

Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, binds decorin, a collagen-associated extracellular matrix proteoglycan found in the skin (the site of entry for the spirochete) and in many other tissues. Two borrelial adhesins that recognize this proteoglycan, decorin binding proteins A and B (DbpA and DbpB, respectively), have recently been identified. Infection of mice by low-dose B. burgdorferi challenge elicited antibodies against DbpA and DbpB that were sustained at high levels, suggesting that these antigens are expressed in vivo. Scanning immunoelectron microscopy showed that DbpA was surface accessible on intact borreliae. Passive administration of DbpA antiserum protected mice from infection following challenge with heterologous B. burgdorferi sensu stricto isolates, even when serum administration was delayed for up to 4 days after challenge. DbpA is the first antigen target identified that is capable of mediating immune resolution of early, localized B. burgdorferi infections. DbpA immunization also protected mice from B. burgdorferi challenge; DbpB immunization was much less effective. DbpA antiserum inhibited in vitro growth of many B. burgdorferi sensu lato isolates of diverse geographic, phylogenetic, and clinical origins. In combination, these findings support a role for DbpA in the immunoprophylaxis of Lyme disease and suggest that DbpA vaccines have the potential to eliminate early-stage B. burgdorferi infections.

Although much progress has been made in the characterization of the organism, spirochetal factors responsible for infectivity, immune evasion, and disease pathogenesis remain largely obscure. The most-studied B. burgdorferi membrane protein is outer surface protein A (OspA), a lipoprotein antigen expressed by borreliae in resting ticks and the most abundant protein expressed in vitro by most B. burgdorferi sensu lato isolates.


Version: April 20, 1999.

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