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Nat Med. 2002 Aug;8(8):878-84. Epub 2002 Jul 1.

Hyporesponsiveness to vaccination with Borrelia burgdorferi OspA in humans and in TLR1- and TLR2-deficient mice.

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Section of Immunobiology and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


The Lyme disease vaccine is based on the outer-surface lipoprotein (OspA) of the pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi, and 95% of vaccine recipients develop substantial titers of antibodies against OspA. Here, we identified seven individuals with very low antibody titers after vaccination (low responders). The macrophages of low responders produced less tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 after OspA stimulation and had lower cell-surface expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 1 as compared to normal cells, but normal expression of TLR2. TLRs activate innate responses to pathogens, and TLR2 recognizes lipoproteins and peptidoglycan (PGN). After OspA immunization, mice genetically deficient in either TLR2 (TLR2(-/-)) or TLR1 (TLR1(-/-)) produced low titers of antibodies against OspA. Notably, macrophages from TLR2(-/-) mice were unresponsive to OspA and PGN, whereas those from TLR1(-/-) mice responded normally to PGN but not to OspA. These data indicate that TLR1 and TLR2 are required for lipoprotein recognition and that defects in the TLR1/2 signaling pathway may account for human hyporesponsiveness to OspA vaccination.

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