Nondifferentiation between Lyme disease spirochetes from vector ticks and human cerebrospinal fluid

J Infect Dis. 1995 Feb;171(2):476-9. doi: 10.1093/infdis/171.2.476.


To determine whether Lyme disease neuropathogenesis may result from infection by a particular segment of the locally extant population of spirochetes, genetic markers of spirochetes found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 12 pediatric patients were compared with those in spirochetes from 40 vector ticks sampled in the vicinity of their homes. The primary structure of the outer surface protein A served as the marker of variation; a fragment of the corresponding gene was amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction and the products sequenced. Tick-derived variants clustered in seven distinct categories, of which four were present in CSF. One of the CSF variants differed from any found in ticks. Coinfection by different spirochete variants was infrequent in ticks and absent in human samples. Spirochetal neuropathology in children in our study site does not correlate with a particular segment of the tickborne pathogens present in nature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics*
  • Arachnid Vectors / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Base Sequence
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / microbiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Ticks / microbiology*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Lipoproteins
  • OspA protein