Lyme Disease Testing Methods
This Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbant Serum Assay is the simplest, least expensive, easiest to perform, and most common Lyme test ordered. It is a test based on detecting the antibodies that our bodies make in response to being exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb).
The ELISA test can be primed to be very specific for some of the spirochetes antibodies. This is done by taking a lab sample of the bacteria and breaking the sample down into fragments. These fragments, or know as antigens, are then embedded on the side of a reagent vessel like a test tube. Then the patient’s serum is added, and any free antibodies specific for the test strain will then bind to the antigens, which are linked to special enzymes that will change color when antibodies are present. The sample is continually diluted until the reaction no longer occurs and no color change can be detected. The sample is then reported as a dilution ratio, such as one part serum to 256 parts water, or 1:256.
Test Results are Read As Follows
< or = 0.90 negative
0.91 – 1.09 equivocal
> or =1.10 positive
IgM: This is the first antibody our body makes against infection is the immunoglobulin type M (IgM). This antibody takes four to eight weeks for there to be enough quantities to be measured or detected, and only lasts for about six months then usually drops to a low level that cannot be detected. If you have a consisitant positive IgM, this is an indicator of chronic infection.
The Western Blot essentially makes a map of the different antibodies the immune system produces to the bacteria. The map separates the antibodies by the weight of their respective antigens and are reported in units called kilo daltons or kDa. A Western Blot will report what bands are positive. It will report bands 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 39, and 41 kDa. Each of these bands represents an antibody response to a specific protein found on the spirochete. The 41 band indicates an antibody to the flagella 41 kDa protein and is nonspecific. The 31 kDa band represents the OSPA protein and is specific for just a few species of Borrelia, as is the 34 band OSPB, and 23 kDa OSPC.
Some bands are Lyme Specific, some are not. For example, band 41 can represent Lyme spiroch
etes or gum disease spirochetes. Here is a general list of what each band means.
On the outer surface of the Lyme bacteria are various proteins. As they have been discovered, they have been assigned letters, such as outer surface proteins A, B, and C.
Each band is an antigen complexed (bound together) with an antibody made by the immune system, specifically for that antigen (part) of Borrelia burgdorferi.
18: An outer surface protein.
22: Possibly a variant of outer surface protein C.
23-25: Outer surface protein C (osp C).
28: An outer surface protein.
30: Possibly a variant of outer surface protein A.31: Outer surface protein A (osp A). 34: Outer surface protein B (osp .37: Unknown, but it is in the medical literature that it is a borrelia-associated antibody. Other labs consider it significant.39: Unknown what this antigen is, but based on research at the National Institute of Health (NIH), other Borrelia (such as Borrelia recurrentis that causes relapsing fever), do not even have the genetics to code for the 39 kDa antigen,much less produce it. It is the most specific antibody for borreliosis of all.41: Flagella or tail. This is how Borrelia burgdorferi moves around, by moving the flagella. Many bacteria have flagella.
This is the most common borreliosis antibody.
45: Heat shock protein. This helps the bacteria survive fever. The only bacteria in the world that does not have heat shock proteins is Treponema pallidum, the cause of syphilis.
58: Heat shock protein.
66: Heat shock protein.
This is the second most common borrelia antibody.
73: Heat shock protein.
83: This is the DNA or genetic material of Borrelia burgdorferi. It is the same thing as the 93, based upon the medical literature. But laboratories vary in assigning significance to the 83 versus the 93.
93: The DNA or genetic material of Borrelia burgdorferi.
For Positive Results you must have:
An lgG Western Blot must have five or more of these bands: 18, 21,28, 30, 39, 41,,45, 58, 66 and 93 kDa.
An lgM Western Blot must have two or more these three bands: 23, 39, 41.
Dr Burrascano has released a new test recently. It is a culture and it is more accurate. To find out more info please visit:
Igenex is also another recommended lab to go to: