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Lyme borreliosis is a multisystemic infection caused by the spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi. In European endemic areas like northeast France, articular manifestations are, after neuroborreliosis, the most frequent extra-cutaneous features observed. Among the pathogenic species of Borrelia, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto is the most frequently identified during
Lyme arthritis, but others species also seem to be involved.
CURRENT KNOWLEDGE AND KEY POINTS:
The diagnosis of
Lyme arthritis is usually based on combined clinical data and serological laboratory tests. In atypical forms, detection of bacterial DNA could be useful. While mechanisms involved in acute
Lyme arthritis are beginning to be better understood, the pathogenesis of chronic arthritis, which concerns about 10% of the patients, remains unknown. Two hypotheses are proposed to explain the prolonged evolution of the articular
disease: a chronic persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi, which evades the host immune system within the joint and/or an autoimmune mechanism by molecular mimicry. The antibiotic therapy is codified in acute arthritis, but is not really adapted in chronic
Lyme arthritis or post-
FUTURE PROSPECTS AND PROJECTS:
To prevent the
disease, the vaccine available in the United States does not offer complete protection and is not useful in Europe since the species heterogeneity is important for the outer surface protein A. A better understanding of
Lyme disease pathogenesis can subsequently lead to new therapeutic or preventive approaches.