Metabolites of prostaglandin synthases as potential biomarkers of Lyme disease severity and symptom resolution

Inflamm Res. 2019 Jan;68(1):7-17. doi: 10.1007/s00011-018-1180-5. Epub 2018 Aug 18.


Background: Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the commonest vector-borne disease in the North America. It is an inflammatory disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The role of the inflammatory processes mediated by prostaglandins (PGs), thromboxanes and leukotrienes (LTs) in LB severity and symptoms resolution is yet to be elucidated.

Objectives: We aim to systematically review and evaluate the role of PGs and related lipid mediators in the induction and resolution of inflammation in LB.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search in PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE(R), Embase and Embase Classic to identify cell-culture, animal and human studies reporting the changes in PGs and related lipid mediators of inflammation during the course of LB.

Results: We identified 18 studies to be included into this systematic review. The selected reports consisted of seven cell-culture studies, seven animal studies, and four human studies (from three patient populations). Results from cell-culture and animal studies suggest that PGs and other lipid mediators of inflammation are elevated in LB and may contribute to disease development. The limited number of human studies showed that subjects with Lyme meningitis, Lyme arthritis (LA) and antibiotic-refractory LA had increased levels of an array of PGs and lipid mediators (e.g., LTB4, 8-isoPGF, and phospholipases A2 activity). Levels of these markers were significantly reduced following the treatment with antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Conclusion: Dysregulation of prostaglandins and related lipid mediators may play a role in the etiology of LB and persistence of inflammation that may lead to long-term complications. Further investigation into the precise levels of a wide range of PGs and related factors is critical as it may propose novel markers that can be used for early diagnosis.

Keywords: Arachidonic acid; Borrelia burgdorferi; COX; Leukotrienes; Lyme disease; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Prostaglandins; Systematic review; Thromboxanes.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Biomarkers
  • Prostaglandins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases