A life cycle for Borrelia spirochetes?
St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, Department of Pathology, 50 Rte 25 A, Smithtown, NY 11787, USA.Medical Hypotheses (Impact Factor: 1.07). 02/2006; 67(4):810-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.03.028
Subsequent to Schaudinn and Hoffman's visualization of Treponema pallidum in 1905, many distinguished syphilologists proposed that spirochetes have a life cycle. What is the "essence" of a life cycle? Simply put, life cycles are diverse arrays of life forms, which emerge in an ordered sequence; which are "connected" to one another across primary and secondary hosts, and constitute a cycle with "circular" relationship between hosts. Fecal-oral life cycles and blood-to-blood life cycles are exemplary of host parasite relationships in this realm. The "blood-to-blood" begins and ends with an insect taking a blood "meal". In this operatic scenario, a "blood-less" insect functions simultaneously as a hypodermic needle and as an incubator for some of the infectious components. The initial phase is inside the body fluid compartment of an insect. The second phase is in the blood or body fluid of a warm-blooded mammal. Third, is the phase inside the cell of a mammalian host. And a final portion of the "life" marked by "death" of the parasitized mammalian cells and the release of infectious parasites which return to the "warm" blood where the "cold blooded" vector again takes a blood meal. The cycle then begins again. In each phase of a blood to blood life cycle, the infectious agent changes its shape. Blood phase "profiles" look different from "tissue phase" profiles. Some of the tissue phase profiles may be "invisible". Borrelia spirochetes offer an excellent example of a life cycle, by virtue of the insect vector to mammalian "piece", the blood and intracellular residence "pieces" and the morphologic diversity "piece". Stereotypes of what a spirochete "should " look like, have actually produced a state of "perseveration" in spirochetal pathobiology. We have been "stuck" like a broken record, on the corkscrew form, and have failed to see the rest of the life cycle. Cystic, granular, and cell wall deficient spirochetal profiles, which were well known in the 19th and 20th centuries by such titans as Schaudinn, Hoffman, Noguchi, Delamater, Steiner, and Mattman, have been repudiated by professional microbiologists, and by pathologists who practice and who confer the status of 21st century truths in microbiology matters. Proper microscopic study, as is required by Dr. Robert Koch's second postulate, for establishing links between microbes and disease, presupposes that the microscopist be aware of the complete array of morphologic repertoires of the alleged pathogen. (Morphologies, which are herein introduced.).
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ABSTRACT: Here is proposed a hypothesis that a completely unsuspected biology exists for pathogenic spirochetes, namely that the cystic spirochetal forms (long thought to be static and resting or just a dormant cohort) actually are capable of killing mammalian host cells. At least two "lethal" scenarios are proposed; first, the host cell destruction from the "inside out" by small caliber cystic forms invading the host cell cytoplasm, and second host cell destruction by engulfment of entire host cells by large caliber cystic spirochetal forms. Conventional thinking about spirochetal cyst forms is divided between two polar spheres of influence; one a majority community that completely denies the existence of spirochetal cyst forms, and a second group of academically persecuted individuals who accepts the precepts of such antebellum scientists as Schaudinn, Hoffman, Dutton, Levaditi, Balfour, Fantham, Noguchi, McDonough, Hindle, Steiner, Ingraham, Coutts, Hampp, Warthin, Ovcinnikov, and Delamater. Microscopic images of cystic spirochetes are difficult to ignore, but as has been the case in this century, academic "endowments" have nearly expunged all cystic spirochetal image data from the current textbook versions of what is the truth about the spirochetaceae. If the image database from the last century is obliterated; many opportunities to diagnose will be lost. Variously sized cystic spirochetal profiles within diseased nerve cells explain the following structures: Lewy body of Parkinson's disease, Pick body, ALS spherical body, Alzheimer plaque. Borrelia infection is therefore a unifying concept to explain diverse neurodegenerative diseases, based not entirely on a corkscrew shaped profile in diseased tissue, but based on small, medium and large caliber rounded cystic profiles derived from pathogenic spirochetes which are..."hiding in plain sight".Medical Hypotheses 02/2006; 67(4):819-32. DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.04.025 · 1.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with unknown aetiology. The aim was to determine the presence of spirochaetal microorganisms in NL. Focus-floating microscopy (FFM) is a modified immunohistochemical technique that was developed to detect borrelial spirochaetes within tissue sections. It has proven to be more sensitive for the detection of spirochaetes than polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fifty-six cases of NL as well as 44 negative and 33 positive controls were investigated for the presence of Borrelia within tissue specimens. Using FFM, Borrelia could be detected in 42 cases (75.0%) and were seen significantly more often in histologically active inflammatory-rich (38/41, 92.7%) than in inflammatory-poor (4/15, 26.7%) cases of NL (P < 0.001). Seven cases investigated with a Borrelia-specific PCR (23s-RNA) remained negative. In contrast, FFM was positive in 30 of 33 (90.9%) positive controls of acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans and 15 of the positive controls (45.5%) were also positive with PCR, whereas no negative controls revealed any microorganisms. Detection of spirochaetes in NL points to a specific involvement of B. burgdorferi or other similar strains in the development of or trigger for this disease.Histopathology 06/2008; 52(7):877-84. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2559.2008.03051.x · 3.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spirochetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group, the causative agents of Lyme borreliosis, exhibit a complex biology evolved in its zoonotic cycle. Cryo-electron tomography was used to investigate structural features of three species, B. burgdorferi, B. garinii and B. afzelii, known to cause different clinical manifestations in humans. All three organisms revealed an overall similar architecture and showed different numbers of periplasmic flagellar filaments, polar periplasmic void regions, vesicles budding from the outer membrane sheath, which was covered by an amorphous slime layer. The latter was shown to be distinct in its density when comparing the three human-pathogenic Lyme disease spirochetes and Borrelia hermsii, a species causing relapsing fever. Tomograms of dividing bacteria revealed vesicles near the site of division and new basal bodies that were attached at each end of newly establishing cytoplasmic cylinder poles, while periplasmic flagellar filaments still passed the impending site of division. Two different kinds of cytoplasmic filaments showed similarities to MreB or FtsZ filaments of other bacteria. The similar and distinct structural features of Borrelia and the previously investigated pathogenic and non-pathogenic Treponema species emphasize the importance of further studying phylogenetically distant spirochetes.Molecular Microbiology 03/2009; 71(6):1415-34. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06613.x · 4.42 Impact Factor
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