The T-cell response to the aetiologic pathogen Borrelia (B.) burgdorferi in patients with
Lyme neuroborreliosis (LN) and in control patients with other neurological diseases was examined by enumerating B. burgdorferi-reactive T cells secreting interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) with an ELIspot assay. LN patients had elevated numbers of B. burgdorferi-reactive IFN-gamma secreting cells in blood and approximately 20-fold enriched in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A positive correlation existed in CSF between B. burgdorferi-reactive IFN-gamma secreting cells and B cells secreting anti-B. burgdorferi IgG antibodies. The up-regulation of antigen-specific IFN-gamma secreting cells persisted in peripheral blood up to at least 9 months and in the CSF for at least 4 months after termination of treatment with antibiotics, when the patients were mostly free from clinical signs and symptoms due to LN. How IFN-gamma interplays with other cytokines and influences the pathogenesis of LN remains to be studied.