Immunization against arthritis-related protein (Arp) elicits antibody in mice that resolves arthritis but is not protective against challenge with Borrelia burgdorferi. In mice immunized against Arp, an unrelated 37-kDa protein (P37-42), outer surface protein A (OspA), or glutathione S-transferase (GT) and then challenged by syringe or tick, only OspA conferred protection. Passive transfer of Arp antiserum into infected SCID mice induced arthritis resolution, but antisera to P37-42, OspA, GT, or six overlapping Arp peptide fragments did not. Results suggest that the arthritis-resolving immunogenicity is specific to Arp, but the relevant epitopes may be conformational.
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