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2008 Lyme & TBD Abstracts  - ARCHIVE

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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2008 Dec;27(12):1089-94.

Lyme neuroborreliosis in children: a prospective study of clinical features, prognosis, and outcome.

Skogman BH, Croner S, Nordwall M, Eknefelt M, Ernerudh J, Forsberg P.

Pediatric Clinic at the University Hospital, Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. hedinskogman@ltdalarna.se


BACKGROUND: Evaluation of children with clinically suspected neuroborreliosis (NB) is difficult. With a prospective study design we wanted to characterize children with signs and symptoms indicative for NB, investigate clinical outcome and, if possible, identify factors of importance for recovery. MATERIAL/METHODS: Children being evaluated for NB (n = 177) in southeast Sweden were categorized into 3 groups: "confirmed neuroborreliosis" (41%) with Borrelia antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid, "possible neuroborreliosis" (26%) with pleocytosis but no Borrelia antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid, and "not determined" (33%) with no pleocytosis and no Borrelia antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid. Antibiotic treatment was given to 69% of children. Patients were followed during 6 months and compared with a matched control group (n = 174). RESULTS: Clinical recovery at the 6-month follow-up (n = 177) was generally good and no patient was found to have recurrent or progressive neurologic symptoms. However, persistent facial nerve palsy caused dysfunctional and cosmetic problems in 11% of patients. Persistent nonspecific symptoms, such as headache and fatigue, were not more frequently reported in patients than in controls. Influence on daily life was reported to the same extent in patients and controls. Consequently, persistent headache and fatigue at follow-up should not be considered as attributable to NB. No prognostic factors could be identified. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical recovery was satisfactory in children being evaluated for NB although persistent symptoms from facial nerve palsy occurred. Persistent nonspecific symptoms, such as headache and fatigue, were not more frequently reported in patients than in controls.

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Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Dec 15;59(12):1742-9.

Role of psychiatric comorbidity in chronic Lyme disease.

Hassett AL, Radvanski DC, Buyske S, Savage SV, Gara M, Escobar JI, Sigal LH.


University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0019, USA. a.hassett@umdnj.edu


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence and role of psychiatric comorbidity and other psychological factors in patients with chronic Lyme disease (CLD). METHODS: We assessed 159 patients drawn from a cohort of 240 patients evaluated at an academic Lyme disease referral center. Patients were screened for common axis I psychiatric disorders (e.g., depressive and anxiety disorders); structured clinical interviews confirmed diagnoses. Axis II personality disorders, functional status, and traits like negative and positive affect and pain catastrophizing were also evaluated. A physician blind to psychiatric assessment results performed a medical evaluation. Two groups of CLD patients (those with post-Lyme disease syndrome and those with medically unexplained symptoms attributed to Lyme disease but without Borrelia burgdorferi infection) were compared with 2 groups of patients without CLD (patients recovered from Lyme disease and those with an identifiable medical condition explaining symptoms attributed to Lyme disease). RESULTS: After adjusting for age and sex, axis I psychiatric disorders were more common in CLD patients than in comparison patients (P = 0.02, odds ratio 2.64, 95% confidence interval 1.30-5.35), but personality disorders were not. Patients with CLD had higher negative affect, lower positive affect, and a greater tendency to catastrophize pain (P < 0.001) than comparison patients. All psychological factors except personality disorders were related to level of functioning. A predictive model based on these psychological variables was confirmed. Fibromyalgia was diagnosed in 46.8% of CLD patients. CONCLUSION: Psychiatric comorbidity and other psychological factors distinguished CLD patients from other patients commonly seen in Lyme disease referral centers, and were related to poor functional outcomes.


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Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Dec;58(12):3892-901.

Persistent arthritis in Borrelia burgdorferi-infected HLA-DR4-positive CD28-negative mice post-antibiotic treatment.

Iliopoulou BP, Alroy J, Huber BT.

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


OBJECTIVE: The immunologic events that lead to persistent joint inflammation in certain patients with Lyme arthritis post-antibiotic treatment have been elusive so far. The prevalence of this condition is highest in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis-associated HLA-DR alleles. This study was undertaken to generate a murine model with persistent arthritis post-antibiotic treatment. METHODS: We have previously shown that CD28(-/-) mice develop intermittent monarticular Lyme arthritis that is responsive to antibiotics. Since there seems to be a link in humans between persistent arthritic manifestations post-antibiotic treatment and the HLA-DR4 allele, we generated DR4+/+CD28(-/-)MHCII(-/-) mice, infected them with Borrelia burgdorferi, and subsequently treated them with antibiotics. RESULTS: Thirty-eight percent of the B burgdorferi-infected DR4+/+CD28(-/-)MHCII(-/-) mice, but none of the B burgdorferi-infected CD28(-/-)MHCII(-/-) mice, remained arthritic post-antibiotic treatment. A significant fraction (36%) of these mice, but none of the mice in which arthritis resolved, had serum antibodies to outer surface protein A of B burgdorferi. After abrogation of active B burgdorferi infection, the inflammatory reaction in mice with persistent joint inflammation was restricted to the joints, since their draining lymph nodes were no longer enlarged. Increased CD20 and interferon-gamma messenger RNA expression in the inflamed joints of these mice suggested a possible role of B cells and inflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of persistent arthritis post-antibiotic treatment. CONCLUSION: The establishment of this murine model allows, for the first time, the elucidation of the immunologic events that lead to persistent Lyme arthritis post-antibiotic therapy in genetically susceptible individuals.

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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Dec 16;105(50):19863-8. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

NKT cells prevent chronic joint inflammation after infection with Borrelia burgdorferi.

Tupin E, Benhnia MR, Kinjo Y, Patsey R, Lena CJ, Haller MC, Caimano MJ, Imamura M, Wong CH, Crotty S, Radolf JD, Sellati TJ, Kronenberg M.

Divisions of Developmental Immunology and Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 9420 Athena Circle Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Borrelia burgdorferi is the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, a multisystem inflammatory disorder that principally targets the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. The role of T lymphocytes in the development of chronic inflammation resulting from B. burgdorferi infection has been controversial. We previously showed that natural killer T (NKT) cells with an invariant (i) TCR alpha chain (iNKT cells) recognize glycolipids from B. burgdorferi, but did not establish an in vivo role for iNKT cells in Lyme disease pathogenesis. Here, we evaluate the importance of iNKT cells for host defense against these pathogenic spirochetes by using Valpha14i NKT cell-deficient (Jalpha18(-/-)) BALB/c mice. On tick inoculation with B. burgdorferi, Jalpha18(-/-) mice exhibited more severe and prolonged arthritis as well as a reduced ability to clear spirochetes from infected tissues. Valpha14i NKT cell deficiency also resulted in increased production of antibodies directed against both B. burgdorferi protein antigens and borrelial diacylglycerols; the latter finding demonstrates that anti-glycolipid antibody production does not require cognate help from Valpha14i NKT cells. Valpha14i NKT cells in infected wild-type mice expressed surface activation markers and produced IFNgamma in vivo after infection, suggesting a participatory role for this unique population in cellular immunity. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the antigen-specific activation of Valpha14i NKT cells is important for the prevention of persistent joint inflammation and spirochete clearance, and they counter the long-standing notion that humoral rather than cellular immunity is sufficient to facilitate Lyme disease resolution.

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Am J Pathol. 2008 Nov;173(5):1415-27. Epub 2008 Oct 2.

Interaction of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi with brain parenchyma elicits inflammatory mediators from glial cells as well as glial and neuronal apoptosis.

Ramesh G, Borda JT, Dufour J, Kaushal D, Ramamoorthy R, Lackner AA, Philipp MT.

Division of Bacteriology and Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University, Covington, LA 70433, USA.


Lyme neuroborreliosis, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, often manifests by causing neurocognitive deficits. As a possible mechanism for Lyme neuroborreliosis, we hypothesized that B. burgdorferi induces the production of inflammatory mediators in the central nervous system with concomitant neuronal and/or glial apoptosis. To test our hypothesis, we constructed an ex vivo model that consisted of freshly collected slices from brain cortex of a rhesus macaque and allowed live B. burgdorferi to penetrate the tissue. Numerous transcripts of genes that regulate inflammation as well as oligodendrocyte and neuronal apoptosis were significantly altered as assessed by DNA microarray analysis. Transcription level increases of 7.43-fold (P = 0.005) for the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha and 2.31-fold (P = 0.016) for the chemokine interleukin (IL)-8 were also detected by real-time-polymerase chain reaction array analysis. The immune mediators IL-6, IL-8, IL-1beta, COX-2, and CXCL13 were visualized in glial cells in situ by immunofluorescence staining and confocal microscopy. Concomitantly, significant proportions of both oligodendrocytes and neurons undergoing apoptosis were present in spirochete-stimulated tissues. IL-6 production by astrocytes in addition to oligodendrocyte apoptosis were also detected, albeit at lower levels, in rhesus macaques that had received in vivo intraparenchymal stereotaxic inoculations of live B. burgdorferi. These results provide proof of concept for our hypothesis that B. burgdorferi produces inflammatory mediators in the central nervous system, accompanied by glial and neuronal apoptosis.

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N
eurology. 2008 Mar 25;70(13):992-1003. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of repeated IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme encephalopathy.
Fallon BA, Keilp JG, Corbera KM, Petkova E, Britton CB, Dwyer E, Slavov I, Cheng J, Dobkin J, Nelson DR, Sackeim HA.

Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 69, New York, NY 10032, USA. baf1@columbia.edu

BACKGROUND: Optimal treatment remains uncertain for patients with cognitive impairment that persists or returns after standard IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. METHODS: Patients had well-documented Lyme disease, with at least 3 weeks of prior IV antibiotics, current positive IgG Western blot, and objective memory impairment. Healthy individuals served as controls for practice effects. Patients were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of double-masked treatment with IV ceftriaxone or IV placebo and then no antibiotic therapy. The primary outcome was neurocognitive performance at week 12-specifically, memory. Durability of benefit was evaluated at week 24. Group differences were estimated according to longitudinal mixed-effects models. RESULTS: After screening 3368 patients and 305 volunteers, 37 patients and 20 healthy individuals enrolled. Enrolled patients had mild to moderate cognitive impairment and marked levels of fatigue, pain, and impaired physical functioning. Across six cognitive domains, a significant treatment-by-time interaction favored the antibiotic-treated group at week 12. The improvement was generalized (not specific to domain) and moderate in magnitude, but it was not sustained to week 24. On secondary outcome, patients with more severe fatigue, pain, and impaired physical functioning who received antibiotics were improved at week 12, and this was sustained to week 24 for pain and physical functioning. Adverse events from either the study medication or the PICC line were noted among 6 of 23 (26.1%) patients given IV ceftriaxone and among 1 of 14 (7.1%) patients given IV placebo; these resolved without permanent injury. CONCLUSION: IV ceftriaxone therapy results in short-term cognitive improvement for patients with posttreatment Lyme encephalopathy, but relapse in cognition occurs after the antibiotic is discontinued. Treatment strategies that result in sustained cognitive improvement are needed.


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Appl Neuropsychol. 2008;15(3):208-19.

Memory and executive functions in adolescents with posttreatment Lyme disease.

McAuliffe P, Brassard MR, Fallon B.

Teacher's College, Columbia University New York, New York 10027, USA. drmcauliffe@gmail.com

Although adults with late stage posttreatment Lyme disease often experience difficulties in memory, little is known about the relationship between cognition and Lyme disease in children and adolescents. Twenty-five adolescents with late stage posttreatment Lyme disease (symptoms > 6 months) and 25 participants without Lyme disease (matched on gender, IQ, age, socioeconomic status) were assessed for neuropsychological functioning, depression, school functioning, and predisease academic achievement. The Lyme group had significant deficits in cognition (short-term visual memory, short-term and delayed verbal memory, all forms of recognition memory), as well as worse attendance, grades, and subjective reports of memory problems, without differing in predisease achievement or depression. Deficits in visual memory exceeded deficits in verbal memory-a striking difference from what is reported in adults. These results reveal that adolescents with a history of treated Lyme disease are at risk for long-term problems in cognition and school functioning.

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