In 3 patients with
Lyme radiculomyelitis, cellular immune reactions of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lymphocytes were analyzed. Phenotypic analysis of CSF cells demonstrated that the majority were T cells (CD3+) of the helper/inducer subset (CD4+). These T cells were directly expanded from the CSF by limiting dilution. A total of 505 T-cell lines were tested for Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb)-specific proliferation and also partly tested for reactivity to a panel of central and peripheral nervous system antigens. Proliferative assays revealed 33 of them to be Bb specific, 16 to be specific for myelin basic protein, 16 to be specific for peripheral myelin, 1 to be specific for cardiolipin, and 2 to be specific for galactocerebrosides. The antigen-specific proliferation was restricted by autologous human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecules. The majority of CSF-derived T-cell lines stained positively for CD3, CD4, and HLA class II antigens and negatively for CD8 (cytotoxic/suppressor subset). One T-cell line provided help for the production of specific IgG by autologous B cells and secreted gamma-interferon upon stimulation with Bb antigen in the presence of autologous antigen-presenting cells. These data show that in patients with severe neurological manifestations of late
Lyme disease, not only Bb-specific T-cell lines but also T cells reactive to central or peripheral nervous system autoantigens can be found.