Detection of antibodies to the recombinant P39 protein of Borrelia burgdorferi using enzyme immunoassay and immunoblotting

J Rheumatol. 1993 Apr;20(4):734-8.


The diagnostic value of serologic tests using the recombinant P39 protein of Borrelia burgdorferi was compared with that of tests prepared from a whole spirochete antigen source. Immunoassays (ELISA and Western blot) prepared from either the recombinant protein or whole spirochetes were evaluated using a test panel comprised of 2 sera groups, one obtained from patients with clinically diagnosed Lyme disease, the other from individuals with no indication of past or current infection with B. burgdorferi. Results obtained indicate that ELISA screening tests relying on the recombinant protein are less sensitive than ELISA tests using whole spirochete antigen preparations. Western blot tests based on the P39 protein were more specific than P39 ELISA yielding no false positive or indeterminate results. These findings suggest that the P39 protein may prove valuable for confirmation testing for Lyme disease.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay*
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology*
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins