The aim of the study was to analyze some metalloproteinases, cytokines, and chemokines in LB patients and healthy seropositive subjects. The presence of IgM/IgG antibodies against specific Borreliella antigens was analyzed in the presence or absence of clinical manifestations of LB.

Material and methods:
The study involved 38 patients diagnosed with LB and arthralgia and/or arthritis symptoms, and 57 foresters presenting no clinical symptoms of LB. The ELISA test was applied for general screening of anti-Borreliella IgM/IgG. Western blot was used for confirmatory diagnosis of LB for the positive and borderline results. Serum IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17A, IFN-γ, TNF, IL-8, CCL5, CXCL9/MIG, CCL2/MCP-1, CXCL10/IP-10 concentrations were measured with the use of the Human Cytometric CBA test. The concentration of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in the serum was determined with the use of ELISA tests.

Analysis of the cytokines and chemokines revealed that only the concentration of IL-2 was significantly higher (2.4 pg/m; p=0.00641) in patients with LB symptoms than in the seropositive individuals (0.4 pg/ml). The MMP2 concentration was significantly higher (233.3 ng/ml; p=0.00294) in patients with clinical manifestations of LB than in those occupationally exposed to tick bites, but did not have anti-Borreliella antibodies (192.0 ng/ml).

The presence of IgG antibodies against a number of Borreliella antigens and the differences in the IL-2 and MMP2 levels in seropositive or seronegative individuals and symptomatic LB patients, may indicate differences in the intensity of the immune response to the infection and, consequently, may induce development of clinical manifestations of the disease in seropositive and seronegative individuals.

We are grateful to Adam Szepeluk for technical assistance in statistical analysis.
This work was funded by the Pope John Paul II State School of Higher Education in Biala Podlaska; “Analysis of the immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi infection in patients treated for Lyme disease” [grant number IV,2016]; “Analysis of the secretion of selected cytokines and chemokines in patients with Lyme borreliosis” [grant number S_11_17, 20017].
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