The clinical evolution of Lyme arthritis

Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Annals of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 17.81). 12/1987; 107(5):725-31.
Source: PubMed


To determine the clinical evolution of Lyme arthritis, 55 patients who did not receive antibiotic therapy for erythema chronicum migrans were followed longitudinally for a mean duration of 6 years. Of the 55 patients, 11 (20%) had no subsequent manifestations of Lyme disease. From 1 day to 8 weeks after disease onset, 10 of the patients (18%) began to have brief episodes of joint, periarticular, or musculoskeletal pain for as long as 6 years, but they never developed objective joint abnormalities. From 4 days to 2 years after disease onset, 28 (51%) had one episode or began to have intermittent attacks of frank arthritis, primarily in large joints; a few had polyarticular movement. The total number of these patients who continued to have recurrences decreased by 10% to 20% each year. The remaining 6 patients (11%) developed chronic synovitis later in the illness; of these, 2 (4%) had erosions, and 1 (2%), permanent joint disability. The spectrum of Lyme arthritis ranges from subjective joint pain, to intermittent attacks of arthritis, to chronic erosive disease.

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    • "Lyme often begins with an erythematous rash, consistent with an entity called erythema migrans (EM) or erythema chronicum migrans that had first been described in 1909 in Europe [3]. Some patients (20%) experience no further signs and symptoms, the remainder may develop neurological (11%), cardiac (4e8%) or rarely ocular abnormalities, and 45e60% eventually develop arthritis [4] [5]. Not only EM, but also a meningoradiculoneuritis had long been known to occur after tick bites in Europe and to be associated with each other [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lyme disease was originally identified in Lyme, Connecticut, based upon an unusual cluster of what appeared to be patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It was subsequently identified as a new clinical entity originally called Lyme arthritis based on the observation that arthritis was a major clinical feature. However, Lyme arthritis is now called Lyme disease based upon the understanding that the clinical features include not only arthritis, but also potential cardiac, dermatologic and neurologic findings. Lyme disease typically begins with an erythematous rash called erythema migrans (EM). Approximately 4–8% of patients develop cardiac, 11% develop neurologic and 45–60% of patients manifest arthritis. The disease is transmitted following exposure to a tick bite containing a spirochete in a genetically susceptible host. There is considerable data on spirochetes, including Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the original bacteria identified in this disease. Lyme disease, if an organism had not been identified, would be considered as a classic autoimmune disease and indeed the effector mechanisms are similar to many human diseases manifest as loss of tolerance. The clinical diagnosis is highly likely based upon appropriate serology and clinical manifestations. However, the serologic features are often misinterpreted and may have false positives if confirmatory laboratory testing is not performed. Antibiotics are routinely and typically used to treat patients with Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that prolonged or recurrent treatment with antibiotics change the natural history of Lyme disease. Although there are animal models of Lyme disease, there is no system that faithfully recapitulates the human disease. Further research on the effector mechanisms that lead to pathology in some individuals should be further explored to develop more specific therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Autoimmunity
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    • "Lyme disease, which occurs in North America, Europe and Asia, is caused by infection with tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi[1]. Lyme arthritis, a late manifestation of the disorder [2], can usually be treated successfully with one month of oral or intravenous (IV) antibiotics, termed antibiotic-responsive arthritis [3,4]. However, in a small percentage of patients, proliferative synovitis persists for months to several years despite two to three months of oral and IV antibiotics, called antibiotic-refractory arthritis [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) and natural killer T (NKT) cells provide a first line of defense against infection. However, these cells have not yet been examined in patients with Lyme arthritis, a late disease manifestation. Lyme arthritis usually resolves with antibiotic treatment. However, some patients have persistent arthritis after spirochetal killing, which may result from excessive inflammation, immune dysregulation and infection-induced autoimmunity. We determined the frequencies and phenotypes of NK cells and invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in paired peripheral blood (PB) and synovial fluid (SF) samples from eight patients with antibiotic-responsive arthritis and fifteen patients with antibiotic-refractory arthritis using flow cytometry and cytokine analyses. In antibiotic-responsive patients, who were seen during active infection, high frequencies of CD56bright NK cells were found in SF, the inflammatory site, compared with PB (P <0.001); at both sites, a high percentage of cells expressed the activation receptor NKG2D and the chaperone CD94, a low percentage expressed inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), and a high percentage produced IFN-γ. In antibiotic-refractory patients, who were usually evaluated near the conclusion of antibiotics when few if any live spirochetes remained, the phenotype of CD56bright cells in SF was similar to that in patients with antibiotic-responsive arthritis, but the frequency of these cells was significantly less (P = 0.05), and the frequencies of CD56dim NK cells tended to be higher. However, unlike typical NKdim cells, these cells produced large amounts of IFN-γ, suggesting that they were not serving a cytotoxic function. Lastly, iNKT cell frequencies in the SF of antibiotic-responsive patients were significantly greater compared with that of antibiotic-refractory patients where these cells were often absent (P = 0.003). In patients with antibiotic-responsive arthritis, the high percentage of activated, IFN-γ-producing CD56bright NK cells in SF and the presence of iNKT cells suggest that these cells still have a role in spirochetal killing late in the illness. In patients with antibiotic-refractory arthritis, the frequencies of IFN-γ-producing CD56bright and CD56dim NK cells remained high in SF, even after spirochetal killing, suggesting that these cells contribute to excessive inflammation and immune dysregulation in joints, and iNKT cells, which may have immunomodulatory effects, were often absent.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Arthritis research & therapy
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    • "Lyme disease, caused by tick-borne Borrelia burgdorferi, is a multi-systemic and multi-phasic disease in humans, which includes pauciarticular arthritis in up to 60% of untreated patients [1,2]. In the absence of antibiotic treatment, arthritis and other lesions undergo resolution with variable bouts of recurrence over the course of months to years of persistent infection [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Lyme borreliosis, caused by tick-borne Borrelia burgdorferi, is a multi-phasic, multi-system disease in humans. Similar to humans, C3H mice develop arthritis and carditis, with resolution and periodic bouts of recurrence over the course of persistent infection. Borrelia burgdorferi arthritis-related protein (Arp/BBF01), a highly conserved protein among B. burgdorferi s.s. isolates, has been shown to be antigenic in humans with Lyme borreliosis, and a target for antibody-mediated disease resolution in the mouse model. Results A mutant strain of B. burgdorferi s.s. deficient of the arp gene and a complemented version of that mutant were created and examined for phenotypic effects in mice compared to wild-type B. burgdorferi. Deletion of arp did not abolish infectivity, but did result in a higher infectious dose compared to wild-type B. burgdorferi, which was restored by complementation. Spirochete burdens in tissues of C3H-scid mice were lower when infected with the arp mutant, compared to wild-type, but arthritis was equally severe. Spirochete burdens were also lower in C3H mice infected with the arp mutant, but disease was markedly reduced. Ticks that fed upon infected C3H mice were able to acquire infection with both wild-type and arp mutant spirochetes. Arp mutant spirochetes were marginally able to be transmitted to naïve hosts by infected ticks. Conclusion These results indicated that deletion of BBF01/arp did not abrogate, but diminished infectivity and limited spirochete burdens in tissues of both immunocompetent and immunodeficient hosts, and attenuated, but did not abolish the ability of ticks to acquire or transmit infection.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Microbiology
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