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Can J Microbiol. 1991 Jun;37(6):450-4.

Changes in antigenic reactivity of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete, during persistent infection in mice.

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Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hamilton, MT 59840.


Adult laboratory mice, Mus musculus, were shown to be suitable experimental animals for studying infectivity, persistent infection, and in vivo antigenic changes of Borrelia burgdorferi. Sixteen mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with a low-passage culture of an uncloned strain of B. burgdorferi and 16 months later spirochetes were reisolated from the urinary bladder of 15 (94%) of the mice. Spirochetes recovered from the urinary bladder of one persistently infected mouse were tested for infectivity and found to be infectious when passaged into four laboratory mice. Western blot analysis of immune serum from each of the persistently infected mice demonstrated that spirochetes used to infect the mice reacted differently when compared with the spirochetes subsequently reisolated from the mice, demonstrating for the first time that changes in antigenic reactivity had occurred in the spirochete populations during persistent infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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