The Lymphocyte Transformation Test for Borrelia Detects Active Lyme Borreliosis and Verifies Effective Antibiotic Treatment
Volker von Baehr, Cornelia Doebis, Hans-Dieter Volk, Rüdiger von Baehr
Published Date: (05 October, 2012)
Borrelia-specific antibodies are not detectable until several weeks after infection and even if they are present, they are no proof of an active infection. Since the sensitivity of culture and PCR for the diagnosis or exclusion of borreliosis is too low, a method is required that detects an active Borrelia infection as early as possible. For this purpose, a lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) using lysate antigens of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii and recombinant OspC was developed and validated through investigations of seronegative and seropositive healthy individuals as well as of seropositive patients with clinically manifested borreliosis. The sensitivity of the LTT in clinical borreliosis before antibiotic treatment was determined as 89,4% while the specificity was 98,7%. In 1480 patients with clinically suspected borreliosis, results from serology and LTT were comparable in 79.8% of cases. 18% were serologically positive and LTT-negative. These were mainly patients with borreliosis after antibiotic therapy. 2.2% showed a negative serology and a positive LTT result. Half of them had an early erythema migrans. Following antibiotic treatment, the LTT became negative or borderline in patients with early manifestations of borreliosis, whereas in patients with late symptoms, it showed a regression while still remaining positive. Therefore, we propose the follow-up monitoring of disseminated Borrelia infections as the main indication for the Borrelia-LTT.