Eight strains of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were tested with serum samples from persons who had Lyme borreliosis or syphilis in class-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Antigens of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, of Borrelia garinii, and of Borrelia spirochetes in group VS461 were prepared from cultured bacteria isolated from ticks, a white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), or human tissues in North America, the former Soviet Union, and Japan. Nearly all of the serum specimens that contained immunoglobulins to strain 2591, a Connecticut isolate, were also positive in antibody tests with the other seven strains. In general, all eight strains reacted similarly and were suitable as coating antigens in class-specific ELISAs. Assay sensitivities ranged from 82.6 to 100% in analyses for immunoglobulin M and G antibodies. Compared with reference antigen strain 2591, strains 231 (a tick isolate from Canada) and NCH-1 (a human skin isolate from Wisconsin) resulted in higher antibody titers in an ELISA. Syphilitic sera cross-reacted in all tests regardless of the antigen used. Key immunodominant proteins are shared among the closely related strains of B. burgdorferi sensu lato tested, but it is suspected that variations in antigen compositions among these spirochetes may sometimes affect assay performance for detecting serum antibodies.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology
J Clin Microbiol. 1994 May;32(5):1154-8