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Spirochete strains HP3 and HO14, isolated from Ixodes persulcatus and I. ovatus in Hokkaido in 1989, were the first isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiological agent of
Lyme disease, to be recognized in Japan. Antigenic properties of the Japanese strains were compared with those of the strains isolated in the United States (B31 and 297) and Europe (IRS, P/Gau, P/Bi, 2/B45, and 3/B56) by Western blotting (immunoblotting), by using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against strains B31 and P/Bi. The Japanese strains reacted with MAb U40 against the 41-kDa antigen. MAb E34a31 against Osp A reacted with all the strains tested except for strain HP3. Furthermore, MAb U31b against Osp A reacted with all the American and European strains but did not react with the Japanese strains. When MAbs against Osp B were used, MAb E34b reacted only with European strains and MAb U34b reacted only with the American strains. However, neither showed reactivity to two Japanese strains. MAb E60 against 60-kDa antigen reacted with all the U.S. and European strains and strain HP3 but did not react with Japanese strain HO14. These results indicate that the antigenicity of the Japanese strains isolated from two species of ixodid ticks is different from that of the strains isolated in the United States and Europe. It is suggested that the Japanese strains are much more suitable than the U.S. or European strains as the antigen source for the serodiagnosis of
Lyme disease in Japan.