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Cerebrospinal fluid cytokines in Lyme neuroborreliosis

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By A. Pietikainen, et al. • • October 26, 2016

Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) is one of the manifestations of Lyme disease. Although it is known that immune reaction of LNB patients is dominated by Th1 and Th2 responses and patients have elevated numbers of B cells in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), not all the cells involved in inflammation and cytokine secretion have been characterized. The current diagnostics of LNB is based on intrathecal production of antibodies. In recent years, the measurement of chemokine CXCL13 concentration from the CSF has been introduced as a new promising diagnostic tool for LNB to complement the antibody-based diagnostic methods. A few other cytokines have also been analyzed as possible diagnostic markers. However, multiplex analyses simultaneously evaluating the concentrations of a large number of different cytokines in the CSF of LNB patients have been lacking thus far. Extensive cytokine profiling CSF samples of LNB patients would also help in understanding the complex immunopathogenesis of LNB.
CSF samples were analyzed from 43 LNB patients, 19 controls, 18 tick-borne encephalitis patients, and 31 multiple sclerosis patients. In addition, CSF samples from 23 LNB patients obtained after the antibiotic treatment were examined. Altogether, the concentrations of 49 different cytokines were determined from all of the samples. The concentrations of 48 different cytokines were analyzed by magnetic bead suspension array using the Bio-Plex Pro Human Cytokine 21- and 27-plex panels, and the concentration of CXCL13 was analyzed by an ELISA based method.
Distinct cytokine profiles which were able to distinguish LNB patients from controls, tick-borne encephalitis patients, multiple sclerosis patients, and LNB patients treated with antibiotics were identified. LNB patients had elevated concentrations of all major T helper cell type cytokines (Th1, Th2, Th9, Th17, and Treg) in their CSF.
Despite the great differences in the CSF cytokine profiles of different patient groups, CXCL13 still remained as the best marker for LNB. However, IL-1ra might also be helpful as a marker for the antibiotic treatment response. Concerning the immunopathogenesis, this is the first report suggesting the involvement of Th9 cells in the immune response of LNB.
Source: By Pietikainen A, Maksimow M, Kauko T, Hurme S, Salmi M, Hytonen J. Oct. 18, 2016;13(1):273.Cerebrospinal fluid cytokines in Lyme neuroborreliosis. J Neuroinflammation. 

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