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Previous studies showed that decorin-binding protein A (DbpA) of Borrelia burgdorferi was a protective immunogen in the murine model of
Lyme borreliosis when mice were challenged (needle inoculated) intradermally with in vitro-cultivated spirochetes. In the present study, DbpA-immunized C3H/HeJ mice were not protected from infection when infested with Ixodes scapularis nymphs harboring virulent B. burgdorferi 297. This lack of protection correlated with the failure to detect DbpA on B. burgdorferi in ticks, suggesting that DbpA is not available as a target for bactericidal antibodies in serum when B. burgdorferi-infected ticks take their blood meal from an immunized host. The failure of DbpA immunization to protect tick-challenged mice contradicts the results of earlier needle inoculation vaccination experiments and suggests that DbpA may not be suitable as a
Lyme disease vaccine.