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The Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi induces inflammation and apoptosis in cells from dorsal root ganglia

Geeta Ramesh1Lenay Santana-Gould3Fiona M Inglis2John D England3 and Mario T Philipp1*



Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB), caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, affects both the peripheral and the central nervous systems. Radiculitis or nerve root inflammation, which can cause pain, sensory loss, and weakness, is the most common manifestation of peripheral LNB in humans. We previously reported that rhesus monkeys infected with Bburgdorferi develop radiculitis as well as inflammation in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), with elevated levels of neuronal and satellite glial cell apoptosis in the DRG. We hypothesized that Bburgdorferi induces inflammatory mediators in glial and neuronal cells and that this inflammatory milieu precipitates glial and neuronal apoptosis.

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