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Abs are the major effectors of host defense against infections with BORRELIA: Bactericidal murine mAbs and their Fabs destroy B. burgdorferi, the agent of
Lyme disease, and relapsing fever Borrelia in the absence of complement. These in vitro observations led to the expansion of a search for functionally similar Abs in vivo. In this study, we demonstrate that functionally unique IgM Abs develop in vivo and are responsible for the elimination of spirochetemia in murine models of relapsing fever, without the assistance of complement. Mice deficient in the fifth or third component of complement can clear the spirochetemia, whereas B cell-deficient mice cannot. The B cell-deficient mice developed spirochetemia that was an order of magnitude higher and persisted for a longer period of time in comparison to the wild-type mice. Additionally, B cell-deficient mice passively immunized with immune IgM and with immune serum were protected from challenge.