Anti-Borrelia burgdorferi antibody profile in post-lyme disease syndrome
Patients with post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS) report persistent symptoms of pain, fatigue, and/or concentration and memory disturbances despite antibiotic treatment for Lyme borreliosis. The etiopathogenesis of these symptoms remains unknown and no effective therapies have been identified. We sought to examine the antiborrelia antibody profile in affected patients with the aim of finding clues to the mechanism of the syndrome and its relationship to the original spirochetal infection. Serum specimens from 54 borrelia-seropositive PLDS patients were examined for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi proteins p18, p25, p28, p30, p31, p34, p39, p41, p45, p58, p66, p93, and VlsE by automated immunoblotting and software-assisted band analysis. The presence of serum antibodies to the 31-kDa band was further investigated by examination of reactivity against purified recombinant OspA protein. Control specimens included sera from 14 borrelia-seropositive individuals with a history of early localized or disseminated Lyme disease who were symptom free (post-Lyme healthy group), as well as 20 healthy individuals without serologic evidence or history of Lyme disease. In comparison to the post-Lyme healthy group, higher frequencies of antibodies to p28 (P < 0.05), p30 (P < 0.05), p31 (P < 0.0001), and p34 (P < 0.05) proteins were found in the PLDS group. Assessment of antibody reactivity to recombinant OspA confirmed the presence of elevated levels in PLDS patients (P < 0.005). The described antiborrelia antibody profile in PLDS offers clues about the course of the antecedent infection in affected patients, which may be useful for understanding the pathogenic mechanism of the disease.