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Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Spirochetes in the Americas
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Vet. Sci. 2016, 3(3), 19;

Pathogen and Host Response Dynamics in a Mouse Model of Borrelia hermsii Relapsing Fever

Departments of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Medicine, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ulrike Munderloh
Received: 13 July 2016 / Revised: 23 August 2016 / Accepted: 24 August 2016 / Published: 30 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Studies in Tick-Borne Diseases in Animals and Humans)
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Most Borrelia species that cause tick-borne relapsing fever utilize rodents as their natural reservoirs, and for decades laboratory-bred rodents have served as informative experimental models for the disease. However, while there has much progress in understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms, including antigenic variation, of the pathogen, the host side of the equation has been neglected. Using different approaches, we studied, in immunocompetent inbred mice, the dynamics of infection with and host responses to North American relapsing fever agent B. hermsii. The spirochete’s generation time in blood of infected mice was between 4–5 h and, after a delay, was matched in rate by the increase of specific agglutinating antibodies in response to the infection. After initiating serotype cells were cleared by antibodies, the surviving spirochetes were a different serotype and, as a population, grew more slowly. The retardation was attributable to the host response and not an inherently slower growth rate. The innate responses at infection peak and immediate aftermath were characterized by elevations of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Immunodeficient mice had higher spirochete burdens and severe anemia, which was accounted for by aggregation of erythrocytes by spirochetes and their partially reversible sequestration in greatly enlarged spleens and elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick-borne disease; zoonosis; spirochete; antigenic variation; Ornithodoros; Mus musculus tick-borne disease; zoonosis; spirochete; antigenic variation; Ornithodoros; Mus musculus

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Crowder, C.D.; Ghalyanchi Langeroudi, A.; Shojaee Estabragh, A.; Lewis, E.R.G.; Marcsisin, R.A.; Barbour, A.G. Pathogen and Host Response Dynamics in a Mouse Model of Borrelia hermsii Relapsing Fever. Vet. Sci. 2016, 3, 19.

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