Suppression of Adaptive Immunity by Borreliella burgdorferi: An Investigation of Bacterial Immune Avoidance Mechanisms




Williams, Megan
Zhang, Yan
Allen, Michael


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Purpose: Infection with Borreliella burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme Disease, induces broad suppression of the host adaptive immune response. It has been shown that germinal centers form in the lymph nodes shortly after infection, but then collapse after one month. Additionally, when a group of Borreliella-infected mice were given an influenza vaccine, they mounted a significantly abrogated influenza-specific antibody response when compared to an uninfected group that received the same vaccine. A better understanding of how B. burgdorferi manipulates host immunity can help enhance serological testing for Lyme Disease. We aim to characterize how this suppression of host immunity changes over the course of infection with B. burgdorferi. Methods: We will randomly assign mice to 5 groups (n=4). One group will be inoculated with the Vanguard H3N2/H3N8 canine influenza virus (CIV) vaccine. The remaining 4 groups will be infected with B. burgdorferi and will receive the CIV vaccine at Day 0, 7, 28, and 45 post-infection. The CIV-specific antibody response will be measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) at different stages of infection with B. burgdorferi. Results: This study has not yet been completed. The CIV bivalent vaccine was shown to be safe and with no adverse effects when tested in 15 BALB/cByJ mice. Conclusion: Although conclusions cannot yet be drawn, preliminary evidence demonstrates that the Vanguard CIV bivalent vaccine is safe for use in mice and may be used to address our question regarding the duration of Borreliella-induced immune suppression.