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Pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis

Principal investigator

Jukka Hytönen, MD, PhD, Academy research fellow
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
University of Turku, FI-20520 Turku, Finland
Tel.: +358 2 333 7428, Fax: +358 2 233 0008

Description of the project

Despite decades of active research on the pathogenesis and diagnostics of LB a number of bacteriologically and clinically relevant questions remain unanswered. We aim at answering these questions using genetically engineered borrelia, an array of in vitro adhesion assays, and our mouse model of LB. Especially, we aim at clarifying the role of borrelia adhesins in the below mentioned questions.

Current topics

• What are the molecular mechanisms that target borrelia to the various target tissues?
• Why has Borrelia garinii the tendency to cause neuroborreliosis (LNB) more often than the other genospecies?
• What is the role of DbpA and DbpB adhesins in the neurotropisms of borrelia and in the immunopathology of LNB?
• Why is borrelia able to persist in an infected host regardless of a strong immune response against the bacterium?
• Are borrelia spirochetes able to evade antibiotic treatment? If yes, what are the molecular mechanisms behind this, and is there a difference among borrelia genospecies in the ability to cause antibiotic treatment resistant symptoms?
• Epidemiology of LB in Finland and development of diagnostics of LB.

Lab members

Annukka Jaatinen
Eeva Sajanti
Jemiina Salo
Jarmo Oksi
Matti Viljanen
Heli Elovaara
Julia Honkasalo
Anna Karvonen

PhD Thesis (within past 5 years)

Pauliina Hartiala, “Immune evasion by Borrelia burgdorferi – with special reference to CD38 mediated chemotaxis of neutrophils and dendritic cells”. University of Turku, 2009.

Recent publications (2010-)

Salo J., Jaatinen A., Söderström M., Viljanen M.K., Hytönen J.: Decorin Binding Proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi Promote Arthritis Development and Joint Specific Post-Treatment DNA Persistence in Mice. PLoS One (2015)
Sajanti E., Gröndahl-Yli-Hannuksela K., Kauko T., He Q., Hytönen J.: Lyme borreliosis and deficient mannose binding lectin pathway of complement. Journal of Immunology, in press.

Hytönen J., Kortela E, Waris M., Puustinen J., Salo J., Oksi J.: CXCL13 and neopterin concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis and other diseases that cause neuroinflammation. Journal of Neuroinflammation (2014)

Talha S., Hytönen J., Westhorpe A., Kumar S., Khanna N., Pettersson K.: Europium nanoparticle-based high performing immunoassay for the screening of treponemal antibodies. PLoS One (2013) Dec 26;8(12).

Salo J, Loimaranta V., Lahdenne P., Viljanen M.K., Hytönen J.: Decorin binding by DbpA and B of Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. Journal of Infectious Diseases (2011)

Yegutkin G.G., Hytönen J., Samburski S.S., Yrjänäinen H., Jalkanen S., Viljanen M.K.: Disordered lymphoid purine metabolism contributes to the pathogenesis of persistent Borrelia garinii infection in mice. Journal of Immunology (2010)

Hartiala P.P., Hytönen J, Yrjänäinen H, Honkinen M, Terho P, Söderström M, Penttinen M, Viljanen M.K.: TLR2 utilization of borrelia does not induce p38 and IFN beta autocrine loop dependent expression of CD38 resulting in poor migration and weak IL-12 secretion of dendritic cells. Journal of Immunology (2010)

Yrjänäinen H., Hytönen J., Hartiala P., Oksi J., Viljanen M.K.: Persistence of borrelial DNA in the joints of Borrelia burgdorferi infected mice after ceftriaxone treatment. APMIS (2010)