Seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in patients with Behçet's disease

Rheumatol Int. 2003 Nov;23(6):289-93. doi: 10.1007/s00296-003-0313-4. Epub 2003 Apr 8.


Objective: Turkey is one of the countries where Behçet's disease is most prevalent. Although its pathogenesis is not defined clearly, infectious agents are thought to play a role in the etiology. In one study of a group of uveitis patients, including those with Behçet's disease, increased seropositivity to B. burgdorferi was reported by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The seroprevalence of B. burgdorferi has been found to be as high as 36% in some rural areas of Turkey, although Lyme disease caused by B. burgdorferi is quite rare. In this study, we investigated the seroreactivity to B. burgdorferi antigens in patients with Behçet's disease and compared it with that of healthy and disease controls.

Materials and methods: This study was conducted in Izmir in western Turkey. B. burgdorferi immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG antibodies were tested by ELISA in the sera of patients with Behçet's disease ( n=30), rheumatoid arthritis patients as disease controls ( n=31), and healthy controls ( n=31). Positive results were confirmed by Western blotting.

Results: The difference in B. burgdorferi seropositivity between the groups was not significant by any method. Seroreactivity to B. burgdorferi antigens by ELISA was detected in 26.7% of the patients with Behçet's disease, 35.5% of those with rheumatoid arthritis, and 19.4% of the healthy controls. Immunoblots were positive in 13.3% of the Behçet's disease patients, 22.6% of the rheumatoid arthritis patients, and 12.9% of healthy controls.

Conclusion: These results suggest no association between Behçet's disease and B. burgdorferi infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Behcet Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Behcet Syndrome / immunology*
  • Behcet Syndrome / microbiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / isolation & purification
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • Lyme Disease / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M