Long-term study of cell-mediated responses to Borrelia burgdorferi in the laboratory mouse

M. S. De Souza, A. L. Smith, D. S. Beck, G. A. Terwilliger, E. Fikrig, Stephen W Barthold

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34 Scopus citations


Borrelia burgdorferi infection of disease-susceptible (C3H) and -resistant (BALB) mice resulted in impaired proliferation to both T- and B-cell mitogens up to 30 days after inoculation. Interleukin-2 and -4 production was also impaired, paralleling the T-cell response to concanavalin A. Impaired lymphocyte proliferation could not be attributed to diminished numbers of T or B cells and was found to depend on the lymphoid organ (spleen or lymph node) examined. Prostaglandin production accounted for part of this immune dysfunction. Attempts to assess antigen-specific proliferation to B. burgdorferi were inconsistent, and delayed-type hypersensitivity responses were not detected. Adoptive transfer of T-enriched cells from chronically infected donors failed to prevent infection and disease development in recipient C3H mice. The current study emphasizes caution in the study of B. burgdorferi antigen-specific assays and argues against the role of a vigorous T-cell response in Lyme borreliosis in infected laboratory mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1814-1822
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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