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Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 May;22(5):818-27. doi: 10.3201/eid2205.151806.

Differences in Genotype, Clinical Features, and Inflammatory Potential of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto Strains from Europe and the United States.


Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto isolates from patients with erythema migrans in Europe and the United States were compared by genotype, clinical features of infection, and inflammatory potential. Analysis of outer surface protein C and multilocus sequence typing showed that strains from these 2 regions represent distinct genotypes. Clinical features of infection with B. burgdorferi in Slovenia were similar to infection with B. afzelii or B. garinii, the other 2 Borrelia spp. that cause disease in Europe, whereas B. burgdorferi strains from the United States were associated with more severe disease. Moreover, B. burgdorferi strains from the United States induced peripheral blood mononuclear cells to secrete higher levels of cytokines and chemokines associated with innate and Th1-adaptive immune responses, whereas strains from Europe induced greater Th17-associated responses. Thus, strains of the same B. burgdorferi species from Europe and the United States represent distinct clonal lineages that vary in virulence and inflammatory potential.


B. afzelii; B. garinii; Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto; Europe; Lyme borreliosis; RNA intergenic spacer type; Slovenia; United States; bacteria; clinical features; erythema migrans; genotype; inflammatory potential; multilocus sequencing typing; outer surface protein C

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