Borrelia Burgdorferi and Its Tropisms for Adhesion Molecules in the Joint

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2002 Jul;14(4):394-8. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200207000-00010.


Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, has evolved elegant strategies for interacting with its mammalian hosts. Among them are several distinct mechanisms of adhesion to cells and extracellular matrix components. The mammalian receptors for B. burgdorferi that have been most thoroughly studied, and for which candidate bacterial ligands have been identified, are decorin, fibronectin, glycosaminoglycans, and beta3-chain integrins. This diversity of adhesion mechanisms allows B. burgdorferi to infect multiple tissues, including the synovial tissues of the joints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Infectious / etiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious / pathology
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / pathogenicity
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Joints / microbiology*
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology
  • Lyme Disease / pathology
  • Synovial Membrane / microbiology
  • Tropism / physiology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins