An Enhanced ELISPOT Assay for Sensitive Detection of Antigen-Specific T Cell Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi

Chenggang Jin; Roen, Diana R.; Lehmann, Paul V.; Kellermann, Gottfried H.
September 2013
Cells (2073-4409);Sep2013, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p607
Academic Journal
Lyme Borreliosis is an infectious disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi that is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. Both B cell-mediated humoral immunity and T cell immunity develop during natural Borrelia infection. However, compared with humoral immunity, the T cell response to Borrelia infection has not been well elucidated. In this study, a novel T cell-based assay was developed and validated for the sensitive detection of antigen-specific T cell response to B. burgdorferi. Using interferon-δ as a biomarker, we developed a new enzyme-linked immunospot method (iSpot Lyme™) to detect Borrelia antigen-specific effector/memory T cells that were activated in vivo by exposing them to recombinant Borrelia antigens ex vivo. To test this new method as a potential laboratory diagnostic tool, we performed a clinical study with a cohort of Borrelia positive patients and healthy controls. We demonstrated that the iSpot Lyme assay has a significantly higher specificity and sensitivity compared with the Western Blot assay that is currently used as a diagnostic measure. A comprehensive evaluation of the T cell response to Borrelia infection should, therefore, provide new insights into the pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of Lyme disease.


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