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Use of recombinant OspC from Borrelia burgdorferi for serodiagnosis of early Lyme disease.

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Infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of
Lyme disease, is associated with an early and dominant humoral response to the spirochete’s 23-kDa outer surface protein C (OspC). We have cloned and expressed OspC as a fusion protein in Escherichia coli and have shown that patient serum samples react with it in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (S. J. Padula, A. Sampieri, F. Dias, A. Szczepanski, and R. W. Ryan, Infect. Immun. 61:5097-5105, 1993). Now we have compared the detection of B. burgdorferi-specific immunoglobulin M antibodies in 74 individuals with culture-positive erythema migrans by a whole-cell ELISA, immunoblot, and the recombinant OspC (rOspC) ELISA. Seventy-six negative controls were also studied. With all of the tests, there was a statistically significant association between the duration of
disease and the frequency of a positive result. With the rOspC ELISA, the predictive value of a positive test was 100% and the predictive value of a negative test was 74%. Similar results were obtained with the whole-cell ELISA and with the immunoblot using as the source of test antigen a strain of B. burgdorferi which expresses abundant levels of OspC. We conclude that the use of rOspC in an ELISA is a convenient, readily automated, and easily standardized test for the serodiagnosis of early
Lyme disease.

J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Jul;32(7):1733-8. Comparative Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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