To delineate the inflammatory potential of the 3 pathogenic species of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, we stimulated monocyte-derived macrophages from healthy human donors with 10 isolates each of B. burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, or Borrelia garinii recovered from erythema migrans skin lesions of patients with Lyme borreliosis from the United States or Slovenia.
B. burgdorferi isolates from the United States induced macrophages to secrete significantly higher levels of interleukin (IL)-8, CCL3, CCL4, IL-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor than B. garinii or B. afzelii isolates.
Consistent with this response in cultured macrophages, chemokine and cytokine levels in serum samples of patients from whom the isolates were obtained were significantly greater in B. burgdorferi-infected patients than in B. afzelii– or B. garinii-infected patients.
These results demonstrate in vitro and in vivo that B. burgdorferi has greater inflammatory potential than B. afzelii and B. garinii, which may account in part for variations in the clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis.
Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, Nov 12, 2009; ;200(12):1936-43. PMID: 19909078, by Strle K, Drouin EE, Shen S, Khoury JE, McHugh G, Ruzic-Sabljic E, Strle F, Steere AC. Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ljubljana, Department of Infectious Diseases, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia. [E-mail: email@example.com]