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Identification of quantitative trait loci governing arthritis severity and humoral responses in the murine model of Lyme disease.

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A spectrum of
disease severity has been observed in patients with
Lyme disease, with approximately 60% of untreated individuals developing arthritis. The murine model of
Lyme disease has provided strong evidence that the genetic composition of the host influences the severity of arthritis following infection with Borrelia burgdorferi: infected C3H mice develop severe arthritis while infected C57BL/6N mice develop mild arthritis. Regions of the mouse genome controlling arthritis severity and humoral responses during B. burgdorferi infection were identified in the F2 intercross generation of C3H/HeNCr and C57BL/6NCr mice. Rear ankle swelling measurements identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) on chromosomes 4 and 5, while histopathological scoring identified QTL on a unique region of chromosome 5 and on chromosome 11. The identification of QTL unique for ankle swelling or histopathological severity suggests that processes under distinct genetic control are responsible for these two manifestations of
Lyme arthritis. Additional QTL that control the levels of circulating Igs induced by B. burgdorferi infection were identified on chromosomes 6, 9, 11, 12, and 17. Interestingly, the magnitude of the humoral response was not correlated with the severity of arthritis in infected F2 mice. This work defines several genetic loci that regulate either the severity of arthritis or the magnitude of humoral responses to B. burgdorferi infection in mice, with implications toward understanding the host-pathogen interactions involved in
disease development.

J Immunol. 1999 Jan 15;162(2):948-56. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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