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Cyclooxygenase (Cox) is a key enzyme in the biosynthetic metabolism of prostaglandins. The inducible isoform of Cox-2 has been implicated in inflammation and its specific inhibition can be used to treat noninfectious inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of
Lyme disease, can induce joint inflammation. Here we show that B. burgdorferi induced the upregulation of cox-2 gene expression in murine joints at the onset of arthritis in infected mice. The level of mRNA expression correlated with the degree of inflammation. The specific inhibition of Cox-2 diminished the degree of joint inflammation, without affecting B. burgdorferi-specific antibody or cytokine responses. Cox-2 activity is therefore associated with the genesis of infectious arthritis caused by B. burgdorferi.