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Antibody profiling of Borrelia burgdorferi infection in horses.

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Infection with Borrelia burgdorferi is common in horses and ponies from the New England and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Here, we evaluated luciferase immunoprecipitation systems (LIPS) for profiling antibody responses against three different antigenic targets for the diagnosis of equine B. burgdorferi infection. LIPS testing of horse serum samples suspected of
Lyme infection revealed that approximately 75% of the horse samples (114/159) were seropositive against the synthetic VOVO antigen, comprising repeated immunodominant C6 epitopes as well as OspC immunodominant epitopes. A comparison of VOVO and immunofluorescence assays (IFA) showed that 51% of the samples were positive in both assays (VOVO(+)/IFA(+)), 13% were VOVO(-)/IFA(+), 21% were VOVO(+)/IFA(-), and 15% were negative in both. To further understand humoral responses to B. burgdorferi and reconcile the diagnostic differences between IFA and VOVO, two additional B. burgdorferi LIPS tests were performed with DbpA and DbpB. Robust seropositive antibody responses against DbpA and/or DbpB were detected in 98% (79/81) of the VOVO(+)/IFA(+) and 93% (50/54) of the discrepant samples. Additionally, some of the samples negative by both VOVO and IFA showed immunoreactivity against DbpA and/or DbpB. Overall, 94% of the suspected horse samples were seropositive by LIPS, and heat map analysis revealed that seropositive samples often were immunoreactive with at least two of the three antigens. These results suggest that LIPS tests employing multiple recombinant antigens offer a promising approach for the evaluation of antibody responses in
Lyme disease.

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Sep;18(9):1562-7. doi: 10.1128/CVI.05123-11. Epub 2011 Jul 20. Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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