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Lyme borreliosis, a multisystem disorder involving the skin, the nervous system, the heart, the joints and many other organs, is a worldwide infectious
disease which is transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes complex. Most frequently diagnosis is accomplished by detection of antibodies because the Borrelia are difficult to cultivate. Present serodiagnostic methods, however, are impaired by low sensitivity and unspecific reactions. The selection of immunodominant antigens with low cross-reactivity to other bacteria should improve antibody detection. Borrelia burgdorferi proteins have been analysed for cross-reactivity with immune sera from unrelated bacteria, and sera from patients with different stages of the
disease. Suitable antigens for improving serodiagnosis have been detected and are reported here. In view of the immunological heterogeneity of Borrelia proteins, sensitivity of antibody detection may possibly be increased by using recombinant antigens derived from different strains. Immunization with recombinant OspA (a flagellum-associated protein) from a North American isolate protected mice from the challenge with three North American isolates. However, for development of an effective vaccine (especially in Europe), the heterogeneity of OspA has to be considered.