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Antibody response to IR6, a conserved immunodominant region of the VlsE lipoprotein, wanes rapidly after antibiotic treatment of Borrelia burgdorferi infection in experimental animals and in humans.

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Abstract

Invariable region (IR)(6), an immunodominant conserved region of VlsE, the antigenic variation protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, is currently used for the serologic diagnosis of
Lyme disease in humans and canines. A longitudinal assessment of anti-IR(6) antibody levels in B. burgdorferi-infected rhesus monkeys revealed that this level diminished sharply after antibiotic treatment (within 25 weeks). In contrast, antibody levels to P39 and to whole-cell antigen extracts of B. burgdorferi either remained unchanged or diminished less. A longitudinal analysis in dogs yielded similar results. In humans, the anti-IR(6) antibody titer diminished by a factor of > or =4 in successfully treated patients and by a factor of <4 in treatment-resistant patients. This result suggests that the quantification of anti-IR(6) antibody titer as a function of time should be investigated further as a test to assess response to
Lyme disease therapy or to determine whether a B. burgdorferi infection has been eliminated.

J Infect Dis. 2001 Oct 1;184(7):870-8. Epub 2001 Aug 30. Case Reports; Comparative Study; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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