Borrelia burgdorferi activates a T helper type 1-like T cell subset in Lyme arthritis

J Exp Med. 1991 Sep 1;174(3):593-601. doi: 10.1084/jem.174.3.593.


18 cloned T cell lines reactive with Borrelia burgdorferi proteins, all CD3+4+8-TCR-alpha/beta+ and restricted by HLA class II proteins, were isolated from four patients with chronic Lyme arthritis. Analysis of these T cell clones indicated that the T cell response to the Lyme disease spirochete is not oligoclonally restricted; yet all produced the same pattern of lymphokines, resembling that of murine type 1 T helper cells, after antigen-specific or nonspecific stimulation. Therefore, a subset of human CD4+ T cells, with a distinct profile of lymphokine secretion, is selectively activated by the pathogen inciting this chronic inflammatory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Borrelia / immunology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Clone Cells
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Gene Expression
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / immunology*
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • HLA Antigens
  • Lymphokines
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell