David C. Zoschke, MD, PhD; Archibald A. Skemp, MD; Dana L. Defosse, BS
Objective: To compare lymphocyte proliferative responses to Borrelia burgdorferi in healthy controls and patients with Lyme disease.
Patients: Twelve patients fulfilling case-definition criteria for Lyme disease. Twelve healthy volunteers and two newborns served as controls.
Measurements: Antibodies to B. burgdorferi were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Proliferation of peripheral blood lymphocytes cultured for 5 days with B. burgdorferi, recall antigens, or pokeweed mitogen was measured by radioactive thymidine uptake.
Results: Lymphocytes from 11 patients with Lyme disease, 8 healthy seronegative controls, and two newborns showed elevated responses when stimulated with B. burgdorferi. When a patient and a control were studied on the same day, the patient's lymphocyte response to B. burgdorferi exceeded the control's in only 5 of 12 cases. Lymphocytes from both patients and controls responded to B. burgdorferi isolates from three different sources.
Conclusions: Heightened lymphocyte responses to B. burgdorferi are found in patients with Lyme disease but elevated responses also frequently occur in healthy controls. At present, the interpretation of a positive lymphocyte response to B. burgdorferi would be difficult in ambiguous clinical situations.
Zoschke DC, Skemp AA, Defosse DL. Lymphoproliferative Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi in Lyme Disease. Ann Intern Med. ;114:285–289. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-4-285
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(4):285-289.
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