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Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi following Antibiotic Treatment in Mice

Center for Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Impact Factor: 4.45). 06/2008; 52(5):1728-36. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.01050-07
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effectiveness of antibiotic treatment was examined in a mouse model of Lyme borreliosis. Mice were treated with ceftriaxone or saline solution for 1 month, commencing during the early (3 weeks) or chronic (4 months) stages of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Tissues from mice were tested for infection by culture, PCR, xenodiagnosis, and transplantation of allografts at 1 and 3 months after completion of treatment. In addition, tissues were examined for the presence of spirochetes by immunohistochemistry. In contrast to saline solution-treated mice, mice treated with antibiotic were consistently culture negative, but tissues from some of the mice remained PCR positive, and spirochetes could be visualized in collagen-rich tissues. Furthermore, when some of the antibiotic-treated mice were fed on by Ixodes scapularis ticks (xenodiagnosis), spirochetes were acquired by the ticks, as determined based upon PCR results, and ticks from those cohorts transmitted spirochetes to naïve SCID mice, which became PCR positive but culture negative. Results indicated that following antibiotic treatment, mice remained infected with nondividing but infectious spirochetes, particularly when antibiotic treatment was commenced during the chronic stage of infection.

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    Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases 05/2010; 2010:876450. DOI:10.1155/2010/876450
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    • "Borrelia spp. are capable of persistent infection, and such persistence is the norm in mice, rats, hamsters, dogs, and monkeys (Barthold 2000; Straubinger 2000; Summers et al. 2005; Hodzic et al. 2008). Persistence in reservoir hosts can be interpreted as an evolutionarily shaped survival strategy linked to the asynchronous phenology of the tick vectors (Kurtenbach et al. 2006). "
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    • "Given the growing appreciation that bacterial aggregation is of biological significance, Borrelia aggregation deserves further study. B. burgdorferi persists after antibiotic treatment in mice (Hodzic et al. 2008), and there are conflicting reports about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in human Lyme disease (Moody et al. 1994, Nowakowski et al. 1995, Wang et al. 1998). In Pseudomonas aeruginosa aggregation has been linked to persistence and antibiotic resistance in cystic fibrosis patients (Drenkard and Ausubel 2002). "
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