Different genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi are associated with distinct clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis

Clin Infect Dis. 1993 Oct;17(4):708-17. doi: 10.1093/clinids/17.4.708.


Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato has been subdivided into three genospecies: B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii, and B. burgdorferi group VS461. Sixty-eight isolates cultured from patients and 26 strains from ticks were characterized with use of SDS-PAGE, western blotting, and rRNA gene restriction analysis. Fifty-seven of 58 strains obtained from the skin of 70 patients who had erythema migrams or acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans were of group VS461, whereas the genotype of the remaining strain was unidentifiable. Of 10 strains cultured from CSF (n = 3) and skin (n = 7) of 20 patients with extracutaneous symptoms of Lyme borreliosis, nine were B. garinii and one was B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. Of these 20 patients, 17 had neuroborreliosis, one had arthritis and carditis, one had myalgia, and one had erythema and arthralgia. All 26 isolates from ticks were of group VS461. In conclusion, infections due to group VS461 and B. garinii are associated with cutaneous and extracutaneous symptoms, respectively. Our findings suggest that B. burgdorferi genotypes have different pathogenic potentials.

MeSH terms

  • Acrodermatitis / microbiology
  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / microbiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / classification*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / microbiology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Erythema Chronicum Migrans / microbiology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / microbiology
  • Netherlands
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • RNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Ticks / microbiology


  • RNA, Ribosomal