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J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Feb;159(1-2):192-5. Epub 2004 Nov 26.

Antibodies against OspA epitopes of Borrelia burgdorferi cross-react with neural tissue.

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Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Cornell University, 1300 York Ave., New York, NY 10021, USA.


Neurological sequela of chronic Lyme disease include encephalopathy, myelopathy and peripheral neuropathy. These have generally been attributed to either persistent infection or pathogen-induced autoimmunity. In this study, we investigated the presence of cross-reactive human neural epitopes that share amino acid sequences with Borrelia burgdorferi OspA protein. Sequence similarity analysis was carried out by searching known cDNA sequences from brain tissue. The cDNA database search yielded three sequences that were identical to sequences in OspA. Corresponding peptides were synthesized and antibodies were generated against them in rabbits. Antibodies against two of the homologous OspA peptides were found to react with neurons in human brain, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia by immunohistochemistry.

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