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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2012 Aug;19(8):1218-26. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00228-12. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Dynamic longitudinal antibody responses during Borrelia burgdorferi infection and antibiotic treatment of rhesus macaques.

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Division of Bacteriology and Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Covington, Louisiana, USA.


Infection with Borrelia burgdorferi elicits robust yet disparate antibody responses in infected individuals. A longitudinal assessment of antibody responses to multiple diagnostic antigens following experimental infection and treatment has not previously been reported. Our goal was to identify a combination of antigens that could indicate infection at all phases of disease and response to antibiotic treatment. Because the rhesus macaque recapitulates the hallmark signs and disease course of human Lyme disease, we examined the specific antibody responses to multiple antigens of B. burgdorferi following infection of macaques. Five macaques infected with strain B31 and 12 macaques infected with strain JD1 were included in the analysis. Approximately half of these animals were treated with antibiotics at 4 to 6 months postinoculation. Antibody responses to several B. burgdorferi recombinant antigens, including OspC, DbpA, BBK32, OspA, and OppA-2, were measured at multiple points throughout infection. We have previously shown a decline in the response to the C6 peptide following antibiotic treatment. Responses to OspA and OspC, however, were variable over time among individuals, irrespective of antibiotic treatment. Not every individual responded to BBK32, but anti-DbpA IgG levels were uniformly high and remained elevated for all animals. All responded to OppA-2, with a decline posttreatment that was slow and incomplete. This is the first demonstration of B. burgdorferi OppA-2 antigenicity in nonhuman primates. The combination of DbpA, OspC, OspA, and OppA-2 with the C6 diagnostic peptide has the potential to detect infection throughout all disease phases.

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