The 83-kDa antigen of Borrelia burgdorferi was expressed as a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli and purified for use in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (p83-ELISA). Antibodies to the 83-kDa antigen of both the immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM isotypes could be detected in all stages of Lyme disease. Sensitivity varied, depending on the clinical stage of illness. In early stages, as defined for 118 patients with erythema migrans, it was found to be 20% (24 of 118 patients: 7 with IgM, 16 with IgG, and 1 with IgM and IgG). Of the patients with late-stage Lyme arthritis and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, 94% (16 of 17:2 with IgM and IgG and 14 with IgG) and 86% (36 of 42:2 with IgG and IgM and 34 with IgG) revealed positive results in the p83-ELISA, respectively. p83 displays sequence heterogeneity according to the genomospecies, but when the reactions of serum specimens from acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans patients and arthritis patients with p83 derived from representative strains of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and Borrelia afzelii in ELISAs were compared, no differences in specificity and sensitivity were seen. When 82 serum specimens from healthy controls were tested, none had IgG and only 3 (4%) had IgM antibodies, indicating a high specificity. Positive reactions with antibodies against Treponema pallidum (1 of 37 patients; IgG) and Epstein-Barr virus (1 of 44 patients; IgM) and with autoantibodies of various specificities (1 of 53 patients; IgG) were seen with < 3% of the serum samples te11111111111111111111 high speficicity for B. burgdorferi.2+ 13% for IgM antibodies, the IgM p83-ELISA provided little diagnostic information for Lyme disease, whereas the IgG p83-ELISA appears to be a suita ;e test for serodiagnosis of advanced-stage Lyme disease
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