(1) Background: Genetically based hyperinflammation may play a role in pathogen defense. We here questioned whether alterations in circulating monocytes/macrophages, inflammatory biomarkers and a functional SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) of the Interleukin-6 (IL-6) promotor might play a role in patients with persistent, and treatment resistant borreliosis. (2) Methods: Leukocyte subpopulations were studied by flow cytometry; plasma cytokines were determined by a chemiluminescence based ELISA (Immulite®
), and genotypes of the IL-6 promotor SNP rs1800795 were determined by pyrosequencing. (3) Results: In a cohort of n
= 107 Lyme borreliosis patients, who concomitantly manifested either malignant diseases (group 1), autoimmune disorders (group 2), neurological diseases (group 3), or morbidities caused by multiple other infectious complications (group 4), we found decreased numbers of anti-inflammatory CD163-positive macrophages, elevated concentrations of inflammatory cytokines, and an imbalance of IL-6 promotor SNP rs1800795 genotypes. The most prominently upregulated cytokines were IL-1β, and IL-8. (4) Conclusions: Increased pro-inflammatory phenotypes identified by monocyte/macrophage subtypes and concomitantly increased cytokines appear to be valid to monitor disease activity in patients with persistent Lyme borreliosis. Patterns may vary by additional co-morbidities. In patients with autoimmune diseases, increased frequencies of a heterozygous IL-6 promotor SNP rs1800795 were identified. This functional SNP may guide chronic inflammation, impacting other cytokines to trigger trigger chronicity and therapeutic resistance in Lyme borreliosis.
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