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J Immunol. 2011 Mar 1;186(5):3076-84. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003473. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

5-Lipoxygenase-deficient mice infected with Borrelia burgdorferi develop persistent arthritis.

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


The enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) catalyzes the conversion of arachidonic acid into the leukotrienes, which are critical regulators of inflammation and inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and arthritis. Although leukotrienes are present in the synovial fluid of Lyme disease patients, their role in the development of Lyme arthritis has not been determined. In the current study, we used a murine model of Lyme arthritis to investigate the role 5-LO products might have in the development of this inflammatory disease. After infection of Lyme arthritis-susceptible C3H/HeJ mice with Borrelia burgdorferi, mRNA expression of 5-LO and 5-LO-activating protein was induced in the joints, and the 5-LO product leukotriene B(4) was produced. Using C3H 5-LO-deficient mice, we demonstrated that 5-LO activity was not necessary for the induction of Lyme arthritis, but that its deficiency resulted in earlier joint swelling and an inability to resolve arthritis as demonstrated by sustained arthritis pathology through day 60 postinfection. Although production of anti-Borrelia IgG was decreased in 5-LO-deficient mice, bacterial clearance from the joints was unaffected. Phagocytosis of B. burgdorferi and efferocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils was defective in macrophages from 5-LO-deficient mice, and uptake of opsonized spirochetes by neutrophils was reduced. These results demonstrate that products of the 5-LO metabolic pathway are not required for the development of disease in all models of arthritis and that caution should be used when targeting 5-LO as therapy for inflammatory diseases.

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