Balance of synovial fluid IL-1 beta and IL-1 receptor antagonist and recovery from Lyme arthritis

Lancet. 1993 Jan 16;341(8838):146-8. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(93)90006-3.


Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, is a potent inducer of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), a cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory arthritis. The balance between IL-1 and the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), a naturally occurring inhibitor of IL-1, might influence disease expression. To explore this possibility, we have done a retrospective study that compared the clinical course of Lyme arthritis in 83 patients with concentrations of IL-1 beta and IL-1ra in the patients' synovial fluid. Patients with high concentrations of IL-1ra and low concentrations of IL-1 beta had rapid resolution of attacks of arthritis, whereas patients with the reverse pattern of cytokine concentrations had long intervals to recovery. Thus, the balance between synovial fluid IL-1 beta and IL-1ra concentrations relates to the time to recovery from an episode of Lyme arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / analysis*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Synovial Fluid / chemistry
  • Synovial Fluid / immunology*
  • Time Factors


  • Interleukin-1
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1