Protective Antibodies Develop, and Murine Lyme Arthritis Regresses, in the Absence of MHC Class II and CD4+ T Cells

Erol Fikrig, Stephen W Barthold, Manchuan Chen, Cheong Hee Chang, Richard A. Flavell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5682-5686
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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