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Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1994 Sep;32(9):685-9.

Neopterin production and tryptophan degradation in acute Lyme neuroborreliosis versus late Lyme encephalopathy.

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  • 1Klinik für Neurologie, Universität Innsbruck, Austria.


Fourteen patients with Borrelia burgdorferi infection were investigated for possible abnormalities of tryptophan and neopterin metabolism. Four patients (2 were investigated before therapy, 2 when therapy had been already started) had acute Lyme neuroborreliosis, and 10 patients were investigated months to years after an acute infection. Increased concentrations of neopterin and of the tryptophan-degradation product, L-kynurenine, were detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with acute Lyme neuroborreliosis; one patient presented with subnormal tryptophan. Similar but less marked changes were seen in the treated patients and in some of the patients with Lyme encephalopathy. No such abnormalities were seen in the serum of the patients. The data indicate a role of the immune system and particularly of endogenously formed cytokines, like interferon-gamma and tumour necrosis factor-alpha, effecting tryptophan and neopterin metabolism in patients with acute Lyme neuroborreliosis.

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