Immune recognition of human Hsp60 by Lyme disease patient sera

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Members of the Hsp60 family of microbial heat shock proteins frequently serve as immunodominant antigens and immunological responses to these highly conserved proteins have been implicated in the pathology of a number of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory processes associated with microbial infection. In the present study, sera from patients with Lyme disease were examined by Western blot analysis for the presence of IgG against Borrelia burgdorferi antigens and for autoreactive IgG against recombinant human Hsp60 (huHsp60). These results were then compared to those obtained using sera from normal healthy controls, patients with a variety of acute non-spirochete infections, and patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The results indicate a high incidence of autoreactive antibodies against huHsp60 in the sera of Lyme disease patients (67.9%) and patients with RA (75%). Positive reactivity was observed at lower rates in sera from healthy controls (25%) and sera from patients with acute non-spirochete infections (38%). Together the data suggest an association between the presence of autoreactive antibodies against huHsp60 and infection with B. burgdorferi. A similar association may exist between the presence of autoreactive antibodies against HuHsp60 and RA. © 1993 Academic Press.

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Microbial Pathogenesis