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Granulomatous cheilitis and Borrelia burgdorferi: polymerase chain reaction and serologic studies in a retrospective case series of 12 patients.

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Granulomatous cheilitis (GC) is a chronic granulomatous inflammation of the lips of unknown etiology, which may be associated with peripheral facial nerve paralysis and/or lingua plicata (Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome [MRS]). Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete that causes
Lyme borreliosis, a multisystemic infectious
disease with frequent occurrence of facial nerve paralysis. An etiologic role of B burgdorferi in various granulomatous diseases has been suggested. The present study was performed to examine a possible causative role of B burgdorferi for GC/MRS by B burgdorferi-specific polymerase chain reaction analysis of biopsy specimens from affected lip tissue and determination of B burgdorferi IgG and IgM serum antibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblot tests.


We examined a retrospective case series of 12 patients with GC/MRS from a
Lyme borreliosis endemic area (median duration of
disease, 8 months [range, 3-348 months]). Borrelia burgdorferi-specific DNA could not be amplified by polymerase chain reaction in any of the 12 patients. One (13%) of 8 patients tested had a serum B burgdorferi IgG response on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and 2 patients (25%) had an IgM response, but immunoblot testing yielded negative results in all 8 patients.


The results of the present study do not indicate that B burgdorferi has an etiologic role in GC/MRS.

Arch Dermatol. 2000 Dec;136(12):1502-6.

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