Active immunization with pC protein of Borrelia burgdorferi protects gerbils against B. burgdorferi infection

Infection. Nov-Dec 1992;20(6):342-9. doi: 10.1007/BF01710681.


Serious infection due to Borrelia burgdorferi and the disseminated infection characteristic of the disease possess unique treatment problems. The wide and still increasing incidence of Lyme borreliosis as well as the problems in treatment call for effective prevention strategies by active immunization. Vaccination experiments were done to determine if active immunization of gerbils with recombinant OspA and pC protects against infection with strains of B. burgdorferi. Gerbils were vaccinated with recombinant OspA and pC (20 kDa protein) and challenged four weeks later with a clone (derived from B. burgdorferi strain PKo) which expresses an abundant amount of pC but only little OspA. Non-immunized gerbils challenged with the same B. burgdorferi strain were used as controls. Both groups of immunized gerbils developed antibodies against the recombinant vaccines. The pC vaccinated group was protected against infection, whereas the OspA vaccinated group showed signs of infection. The non-vaccinated group developed generalised infection. These results show that pC should be considered as a further vaccine candidate and probably needs to be combined with OspA for an efficient vaccine against B. burgdorferi.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines*
  • Gerbillinae
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control*
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Synthetic


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Lipoproteins
  • OspA protein
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • pC protein, Borrelia burgdorferi