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J Infect Dis. 1993 May;167(5):1086-92.

Induction of interleukin-1 release by high- and low-passage isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Low-passage isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi induced arthritis when injected into the hind paws of irradiated hamsters, while high-passage isolates did not. To examine a possible mechanism for induction of arthritis, peritoneal exudate cells were coincubated with high- and low-passage isolates of B. burgdorferi, and the resultant conditioned medium was assayed for interleukin-1 (IL-1) activity. Comparable amounts of IL-1 activity were detected in culture supernatants generated by high- and low-passage spirochetes and were dependent on the number of spirochetes added. Live B. burgdorferi stimulated greater release of IL-1 activity than did heat-killed organisms. No evidence of release of IL-1 due to shedding of soluble components from spirochetes was obtained. A recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist blocked the proliferative activity of conditioned medium in a murine thymocyte assay for IL-1 activity. The greater ability of low-passage spirochetes to survive in vivo may be more important than the ability to induce IL-1 production in the pathogenesis of Lyme arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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