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J Clin Microbiol. 1992 Dec;30(12):3158-62.

Comparison of whole-cell antibodies and an antigenic flagellar epitope of Borrelia burgdorferi in serologic tests for diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven 06504.


A recombinant protein (p41-G) of an antigenic region of flagellin was used in a standard and amplified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis. Comparable sensitivities (88 to 94%) were noted when sera from 17 persons who had erythema migrans and antibodies to whole-cell B. burgdorferi were tested against the p41-G antigen. In tests of a second study group of 36 persons who had erythema migrans but no detectable antibodies to whole-cell B. burgdorferi, 3 (8%) were positive when the p41-G antigen was used. Assay specificity likewise increased when the p41-G fragment was included in an ELISA with human sera containing treponemal antibodies. Recombinant flagellar proteins of B. burgdorferi, such as the p41-G antigen, can be used in an ELISA and may help confirm Lyme borreliosis during early stages of infection and improve specificity.

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