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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2007 Nov;14(11):1437-41. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Serum reactivity against Borrelia burgdorferi OspA in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Institute of Immunology, Department of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, 110 Sec.1, Chien Kuo N. Road, Taichung 402, Taiwan.


Lyme arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis share common clinical features and synovial histology. It is unclear whether they also share similar pathogenesis. Previous studies have shown that the severity and duration of Lyme arthritis correlate directly with serum concentrations of antibody against outer surface protein A (OspA) of the causative pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. We tested the sera of 68 subjects with rheumatoid arthritis, 147 subjects with other autoimmune diseases, and 44 healthy subjects who had never had Lyme disease, as well as sera of 16 patients who had Lyme disease, for reactivity against the B. burgdorferi OspA protein. The sera of about a quarter of the rheumatoid arthritis patients and a 10th of the autoimmune disease and Lyme disease patients reacted against OspA antigen. Of 50 rheumatoid arthritis patients who could be evaluated for disease severity, a 28-joint count disease activity score of >2.6 was noted for 11 of 15 (73%) patients whose sera reacted against OspA antigen and 13 of 35 (37%; P < 0.05) whose sera were nonreactive. Serum reactivity against OspA antigen is associated with the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

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