IgG subclasses in Lyme borreliosis: a study of specific IgG subclass distribution in an interferon-gamma-predominated disease

Scand J Immunol. 1998 Jun;47(6):575-81.


Lyme borreliosis has shown a T helper type 1 (Th1)-like immune response with high production of interferon-gamma. Since the cytokine environment seems to be important in the regulation of immunoglobulin production and in the switch between different isotypes and subclasses, and since the subclasses of IgG have different functions, we wanted to examine the IgG subclass distribution in Lyme borreliosis. We have developed an ELISA measuring flagellin-specific antibodies of the different IgG subclasses in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Thirty-five seropositive patients with varying manifestations of Lyme borreliosis were included in the study. According to the results, the predominating subclasses in both serum and CSF were IgG1 and IgG3. In samples taken early in disease this pattern was more pronounced in patients with a subacute disease, defined as recovery within 3 months, compared to patients that later on developed chronic borreliosis. The levels of IgG2 were generally low and IgG4 was below detection level. Thus, in the IFN-gamma-predominated immune response seen in Lyme borreliosis, mainly IgG1 and IgG3 were found, i.e. the subclasses that are complement activating as well as opsonizing in humans. Increased levels of these two subclasses early in disease might contribute to recovery and counteract the development of chronicity. The absence of IgG4 is in accordance with the presumed Th1-like situation of Lyme borreliosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Immunoglobulin G / classification*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Lyme Disease / blood
  • Lyme Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Lyme Disease / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interferon-gamma