Objective: To analyze the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in synovial samples from the knee joint of patients with Lyme arthritis by polymerase chain reaction, and to differentiate the species by reverse line blot (RLB).
Methods: Synovial fluid (SF) and synovial tissue (ST) samples were obtained from patients with Lyme arthritis (n = 4) and from patients with various other forms of arthritis (n = 9). DNA extracted from synovial samples was amplified by using, as a target, the spacer region between the 5S and 23S ribosomal RNA genes of B. burgdorferi sensu lato. Subsequently, 4 species-specific DNA probes were used in the RLB for specific hybridization.
Results: DNA from B. burgdorferi sensu stricto DNA was detected in the SF and ST from 3 patients with Lyme arthritis. B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA was not detected in the synovial samples from 9 control patients.
Conclusion: The relationship between different species of B. burgdorferi sensu lato and arthritis can be studied using direct analysis of extracted DNA from joint samples. This method can be used to study the association between particular clinical manifestations of Lyme disease and different species of B. burgdorferi sensu lato.