Homogeneous Inflammatory Gene Profiles Induced in Human Dermal Fibroblasts in Response to the Three Main Species of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato

PLoS One. 2016 Oct 5;11(10):e0164117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164117. eCollection 2016.


In Lyme borreliosis, the skin is the key site for bacterial inoculation by the infected tick and for cutaneous manifestations. We previously showed that different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto isolated from tick and from different clinical stages of the Lyme borreliosis (erythema migrans, and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans) elicited a very similar transcriptional response in normal human dermal fibroblasts. In this study, using whole transcriptome microarray chips, we aimed to compare the transcriptional response of normal human dermal fibroblasts stimulated by 3 Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato strains belonging to 3 main pathogenic species (B. afzelii, B. garinii and B. burgdorferi sensu stricto) in order to determine whether "species-related" inflammatory pathways could be identified. The three Borrelia strains tested exhibited similar transcriptional profiles, and no species-specific fingerprint of transcriptional changes in fibroblasts was observed. Conversely, a common core of chemokines/cytokines (CCL2, CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL6, CXCL10, IL-6, IL-8) and interferon-related genes was stimulated by all the 3 strains. Dermal fibroblasts appear to play a key role in the cutaneous infection with Borrelia, inducing a homogeneous inflammatory response, whichever Borrelia species was involved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / classification*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / microbiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Lyme Disease / genetics*
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.