Embers ME, Hasenkampf NR, Jacobs MB, Philipp MT.
Infection with B. 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 4-6 months post-inoculation.
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 post-treatment 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 potential to detect infection throughout all disease phases.
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