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Health Research Forum
October 19 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Please join us for a presentation by Dean Nardelli, PhD, Associate Professor in the College of Health Sciences.
Control of Lyme Disease by Regulatory T Cells
Untreated infection with the causative agent of Lyme disease, the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, may cause an array of debilitating and persistent symptoms involving various body systems, including the musculoskeletal, cardiac, and/or neurological systems and the skin. The clinical manifestations that develop are due to an inflammatory response to the microbe that, in some patients, may be excessive or dysregulated. Differences in the ability to regulate the host response to B. burgdorferi may be responsible for the varied clinical presentations and severity of Lyme disease within the population. We and others have provided indirect evidence to support the hypothesis that CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells play a significant role in the immune response to B. burgdorferi. Using an experimental mouse model which allows for selective depletion of Treg cells, we provide evidence that these cells are critical for prevention of Lyme disease in an otherwise disease-resistant phenotype. Identifying host factors responsible for dysregulated immune responses to B. burgdorferi is of critical importance, since the endemic area of Lyme disease is expanding and since the incidence of disease is likely ten times higher than has been reported previously.