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Lyme carditis in immunodeficient mice during experimental infection of Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Recently, we described the severe combined immunodeficiency (scid) mouse as a laboratory model for B. burgdorferi infection. Scid mice inoculated with the virulent low-passage tick isolate Borrelia burgdorferi ZS7 developed a severe pancarditis involving endocardium, myocardium and epicardium in the absence of functional B- or T-cells. Soon after inoculation perivascular infiltration was observed, later diffuse infiltration of the interstitium of the subendocardial and subepicardial areas was seen. The infiltrate was mainly mononuclear and predominantly composed of Mac-1+ cells. Concomitantly, fibroblast proliferation and augmented collagen deposition occurred in the interstitium. This was associated with the presence of B. burgdorferi organisms. The histopathological and ultrastructural findings observed in scid mice resemble those observed in human
Lyme carditis. The data emphasize the suitability of the scid mouse as a model in which to study the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of
Lyme carditis.

Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol. 1990;417(2):129-35. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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