Persistence of borrelial DNA in the joints of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice after ceftriaxone treatment

 Persistence of borrelial DNA in the joints of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice after 
ceftriaxone treatment HETA YRJÄNÄInen 1 , JUKKA HYTÖNen 1 , PAULIINA HARTIALA 1 
, JARMO OKSI 2 and MATTI K. VILJANEN Departments of 1Medical Microbiology and 
Immunology and 2 Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Correspondence to Heta Yrjänäinen, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, 
University of Turku, Kiinamyllynkatu 13, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland. e-mail: 
heta.yrjanainen@utu.fi  Copyright Journal compilation © 2010 APMIS
We have earlier shown that Borrelia burgdorferi-infected and ceftriaxone-treated mice have 
viable spirochetes in their body, since immunosuppressive treatment allows B. burgdorferi to be 
detected by culture. However, the niche of the persisting spirochetes remained unknown. In the 
present study, we analyzed the tissues of B. burgdorferi-infected and ceftriaxone-treated mice by 
culture and PCR to reveal the foci of persisting spirochetes. C3H/HeN mice were infected via 
81intradermal needle injection with B. burgdorferi s.s. N40. The mice were treated as follows: (i) 
short (5 days) and (ii) long (18 days) course of ceftriaxone at 2 weeks of infection and killed after 
either 10 or 30 weeks, or (iii) the mice received ceftriaxone for 5 days at 18 weeks of infection and 
were killed 21 weeks after the treatment. All samples of ceftriaxone-treated mice were culture 
negative, whereas all untreated controls were culture positive. Importantly, B. burgdorferi DNA 
was detected in the joints of 30–100% of the treated mice. In conclusion, these results combined 
with earlier results suggest that the joint or a tissue adjacent to the joint is the niche of 
persisting B. burgdorferi in ceftriaxone-treated mice




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