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Identification and characterization of Borrelia antigens as potential vaccine candidates against Lyme borreliosis.

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The three Borrelia species, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia garinii are the main species causing the most common tick-borne zoonosis,
Lyme borreliosis. By applying a genomic approach relying on human antibodies we have identified 122 antigenic Borrelia proteins associated with
Lyme borreliosis, including already known and published protective antigens. The heterogeneity of the Borrelia species causing
Lyme borreliosis makes the search for conserved antigens providing broad protection challenging. Using several in vitro assays we narrowed down the selection to 15 vaccine candidates. These antigens were further analyzed for antigenicity and cross-reactivity using sera from mice infected with the three pathogenic Borrelia species. All antigens analyzed showed a high degree of cross-reactivity between the three Borrelia species, essential for providing cross-protection. We also investigated whether mice infected with B. afzelii through tick exposure are primed to mount cytokine responses. For a selection of these antigens, we observed preferentially a pro-inflammatory response in C3H/HeN mice, while in contrast also a type 2 T cell response was seen in the Borrelia-resistant mouse strain BALB/c. Thus, antigens mounting a type 2 or mixed type 2/type 1 T cell response might be preferred vaccine candidates for evaluation in animal models of
Lyme borreliosis.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Vaccine. 2012 Jun 19;30(29):4398-406. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.10.073. Epub 2011 Nov 18. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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