Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
An autoimmune response to myelin basic protein (MBP) has been proposed to participate in the development of the chronic neurologic manifestations that may accompany Borrelia burgdorferi-induced
Lyme disease. Using an immunospot assay, we counted cells secreting antibodies to MBP. Anti-MBP IgG antibody-secreting cells were detected in CSF from eight of 13 consecutive patients with
Lyme neuroborreliosis irrespective of stage of
disease. The numbers were between 1/370 and 1/5,000 CSF cells (mean, 1/1,250 in the 13 patients). The highest numbers were encountered in two patients with severe signs of CNS involvement. The numbers decreased in parallel with clinical improvement after treatment. Anti-MBP IgG antibody-secreting cells were also observed in the CSF from patients with a variety of other inflammatory diseases of the nervous system, and their role in the development of tissue damage remains unsettled. Anti-MBP IgG antibody-secreting cells were not detected in the patients’ blood, reflecting accumulation of this autoantibody response to CSF.