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Genetic control of susceptibility to experimental Lyme arthritis is polygenic and exhibits consistent linkage to multiple loci on chromosome 5 in four independent mouse crosses.

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C3H/He mice infected with Borrelia burgdorferi develop severe arthritis and are high antibody responders, while infected C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice develop mild arthritis and less robust humoral responses. Genetic analysis using composite interval mapping (CIM) on reciprocal backcross populations derived from C3H/HeN and C57BL/6N or C3H/HeJ and BALB/cAnN mice identified 12 new quantitative trait loci (QTL) linked to 10 murine
Lyme disease phenotypes. These QTL reside on chromosomes 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. A reanalysis of an F(2) intercross between C57BL/6N and C3H/HeN mice using CIM identified two new QTL on chromosomes 4 and 15 and confirmed the location of seven previously identified loci. Two or more experimental crosses independently verified six QTL controlling phenotypes after B. burgdorferi infection. Additionally, Bb2 on chromosome 5 was reproduced in four experimental populations and was linked to the candidate locus Cora1. Evidence of four distinct QTL residing within the 30-cM region of chromosome 5 encompassing the previously mapped Bb2 and Bb3 loci was shown by CIM. Interestingly, some alleles contributing to susceptibility to
Lyme arthritis were derived from C57BL/6N and BALB/cAnN mice, showing that
disease-resistant strains harbor susceptibility alleles.

Genes Immun. 2001 Nov;2(7):388-97. Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, Non-P.H.S.; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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