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Genes and Age May Determine Susceptibility to Lyme Disease

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According to an article published on November 4, 2016 in Science Daily, people react very differently to Borrelia, according to their age, genes, and even perhaps, their prior exposure to this infection.
 
The body’s immune response to Lyme is strongly age-related. Cytokines, which are the body’s most important immune signaling molecules, decrease with age.  For the Human Functional Genomics Project, researchers investigated how Borrelia affected cytokine production in 500 healthy volunteers. Said researcher Leo Joosten: "Forest rangers, who may receive as many as 35 tick bites per day, also took part in an additional study. Some of them had never had Lyme disease, even though the chance of infection was high."
 
In addition, the researchers found that a certain genetic variation causes the body to produce an increase of a particular protein called HIF-1a when exposed to Borrelia. This protein causes a buildup of lactic acid in the cells and consequently, an energy deficiency in the immune cells and a reduction in the production of IL-22 cytokines and other inflammatory proteins.
 
The results of this study may partly help to explain why some people get sicker with Lyme than others. To see the complete study, click here. 

Source: By Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. November 4, 2016 Genes and age determine susceptibility to Lyme disease. Science Daily.com.

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