Lyme disease and the peripheral nervous system

Muscle Nerve. 2003 Aug;28(2):133-43. doi: 10.1002/mus.10337.


Lyme disease, the multisystem infectious disease caused by the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, causes a broad variety of peripheral nerve disorders, including single or multiple cranial neuropathies, painful radiculopathies, and diffuse polyneuropathies. Virtually all appear to be varying manifestations of a mononeuropathy multiplex. Diagnosis requires that the patient should have had possible exposure to the only known vectors, Ixodes ticks, and also have either other pathognomonic clinical manifestations or laboratory evidence of exposure. Treatment with antimicrobial regimens is highly effective. The mechanism underlying these neuropathies remains unclear, although interactions between anti-Borrelia antibodies and several peripheral nerve constituent molecules raise intriguing possibilities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Humans
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / complications
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / diagnosis
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / microbiology
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / pathology*
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Motor Neuron Disease / etiology
  • Motor Neuron Disease / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiopathology