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Immunoblot reactivity at follow-up in treated patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis and healthy controls

Dersch, R., Sarnes, A., Maul, M., Minakowski, O., Hottenrott, T., Stich, O., Rauer, S.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases 2019 v.10 no.1 pp. 166-169
antibodies, blood serum, immunoglobulin G, immunoglobulin M, patients, recombinant antigens, seroprevalence, tick-borne diseases, ticks
About 5–20% of the general population in endemic areas have seroprevalence for anti-borrelial antibodies. Previous studies have shown a high rate of 25–97% of persisting anti-borrelial antibodies in patients with treated Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) at follow-up. These studies used immunoblots with antigens from whole-cell sonicates, which could be less specific than modern recombinant antigens. We assessed the seroprevalence of anti-borrelial antibodies in serum from patients with definite LNB and healthy controls with a line immunoblot using highly specific recombinant antigens.We retrospectively identified patients with treated definite LNB who were treated at the Medical Center–University of Freiburg. Serum from LNB patients at a mean follow-up period of 4.9 years (SD: 3.3) and serum from healthy controls were assessed for anti-borrelial antibodies with a line immunoblot with recombinant antigens.A total of 45 patients with definite LNB and 40 healthy controls were included. Ten LNB patients (22.7%) had persisting antibodies (IgG and/or IgM) in serum at follow-up. Serum samples from six healthy controls (15%) were positive for anti-borrelial antibodies (IgG and or IgM). Prevalence of positive IgM or IgG antibodies showed no statistically significant difference between LNB patients at follow-up and healthy controls (IgM p = 0.32, IgG p = 0.54). Immunoblot reactivity patterns at follow-up in LNB patients did not have statistically significant differences from healthy controls.The discrepancy regarding earlier studies reporting higher amounts of LNB patients with persisting antibodies could be due to a higher specificity of the antigens used in recombinant immunoblots compared to other immunoblots (e.g., whole-cell sonicates). The results of our study should be replicated in a larger prospective multi-center study.