John Libbey Eurotext

European Cytokine Network


The role of host immune cells and Borrelia burgdorferi antigens in the etiology of Lyme disease Volume 28, issue 2, June 2017


  • Figure 1
  • Figure 2
Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Center for Infectious Diseases (RCI), Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
* Correspondence: M. Oosting, Radboud University Medical Centre, Department of Internal Medicine (463), Geert Grooteplein Zuid 8, 6525 GA, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Key words: Lyme disease, antigen presentation, adaptive immune cells, innate immune cells
  • DOI : 10.1684/ecn.2017.0396
  • Page(s) : 70-84
  • Published in: 2017

Lyme disease is a zoonosis caused by infection with bacteria belonging to the Borrelia burgdorferi species after the bite of an infected tick. Even though an infection by this bacterium can be effectively treated with antibiotics, when the infection stays unnoticed B. burgdorferi can persist and chronic post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is able to develop. Although a cellular and humoral response is observed after an infection with the Borrelia bacteria, these pathogens are still capable to stay alive. Several immune evasive mechanisms have been revealed and explained and much work has been put into the understanding of the contribution of the innate and adaptive immune response. This review provides an overview with the latest findings regarding the cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems, how they recognize contribute and mediate in the killing of the B. burgdorferi spirochete. Moreover, this review also elaborates on the antigens that are expressed by on the spirochete. Since antigens drive the adaptive and, indirectly, the innate response, this review will discuss briefly the most important antigens that are described to date. Finally, there will be a brief elaboration on the escape mechanisms of B. burgdorferi with a focus on tick salivary proteins and spirochete antigens.