Lyme disease, which is caused by infection with Borrelia burgdorferi and related species, can lead to inflammatory pathologies affecting the joints, heart, and nervous systems including the central nervous system (CNS). Inbred laboratory mice are effective models for characterizing B. burgdorferi infection kinetics and host immune responses in joints and heart tissues; however, similar studies are lacking in the CNS of these animals. Here we characterize the kinetics of B. burgdorferi colonization and associated immune responses in the CNS of infected C3H mice during early and subacute infection. B. burgdorferi colonized the dura mater following needle or tick challenge, and induced expression of inflammatory cytokines and a robust IFN response as well as histopathological changes. A sterile IFN response in the absence of B. burgdorferi or inflammatory cytokines was unique to the brain parenchyma, and could provide insights into the mechanism of inflammatory CNS pathology associated with this important pathogen.
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Casselli, Timothy; Divan, Ali; Tourand, Yvonne; Pecoraro, Heidi L.; and Brissette, Catherine A., "A Murine Model of Lyme Disease Demonstrates That Borrelia burgdorferi Colonizes the Dura Mater and Induces Inflammation in the Central Nervous System" (2020). Biomedical Sciences Faculty Publications. 22.