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Keywords:

  • Borrelia;
  • Borrelia burgdorferi;
  • arthritis;
  • Lyme arthritis;
  • IL-17

Abstract

We showed recently that the adaptive immune events leading to the development of arthritis in Borrelia burgdorferi isolate 297-vaccinated and Borrelia bissettii-challenged mice involve IL-17. Here, we show in Borrelia-vaccinated and -challenged mice that two cytokines known to induce the production of IL-17, IL-6 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, are also involved in the development of arthritis. Vaccinated and challenged mice administered either anti-TGF-β or anti-IL-6 antibodies developed histopathologic changes of the hind paws similar to or greater than untreated control mice. By contrast, simultaneous blockage of these cytokines reduced the severity of arthritis in Borrelia-vaccinated and -challenged mice. Moreover, administration of anti-IL-17 antibodies to these dual-antibody-treated mice completely prevented the development of histopathologic changes of the ankle joints, significantly reduced edema of the hind paws, and prevented the production of anti-outer surface protein A borreliacidal antibodies. These findings demonstrate a role for the combined effects of IL-17, IL-6, and TGF-β in the adaptive immune events leading to the development of Borrelia-induced arthritis.