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Detection of antibodies to Borrelia species among patients with confirmed sarcoidosis in a region where Lyme disease is nonendemic.

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Lyme disease is a multisystemic disorder caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, while sarcoidosis is a multisystemic granulomatous
disease of unknown etiology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between
Lyme disease and sarcoidosis.


We examined the seroprevalence of antibody to Borellia species in patients with sarcoidosis. We performed the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, using three Japanese Borrelia species in addition to B. burgdorferi, and dotblot analysis using purified Borrelia-specific proteins in 38 patients with histopathologically confirmed sarcoidosis and 80 healthy controls.


Two patients (5.3%) were positive for antibodies to Borrelia species according to one or both assays, and one (1.2%) healthy control was positive. In both patients it was suspected that Borrelia infection had developed prior to the development of sarcoidosis.


Borrelia species were thought not to be responsible for the development of sarcoidosis in a nonendemic region in Japan. Since clinical manifestations of
Lyme disease share certain similarities with those seen in sarcoidosis, ophthalmologists should be aware of the need to differentiate between the two diseases and the need for prompt treatment in each case.

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1996 Dec;234(12):770-3.

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