New insights into Lyme disease
•Positivity of Borrelia burgdorferi infection was assessed by a Lyme ELISPOT assay.
•Assessed levels of mitochondrial superoxide and cytosolic calcium in patient PBMCs.
•Lyme borreliosis patients showed a marked increase in mitochondrial superoxide.
•Levels of cytosolic calcium were significantly lower in Lyme borreliosis patients.
•Suggesting that Lyme borreliosis may lead to a state of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Lyme borreliosis is transmitted through the bite of a tick that is infected by the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Clinical manifestation of the disease can lead to heart conditions, neurological disorders, and inflammatory disorders. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of oxidative stress and intracellular communication in Lyme borreliosis patients. Mitochondrial superoxide and cytosolic ionized calcium was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of Lyme borreliosis patients and healthy controls. Mitochondrial superoxide levels were significantly higher (p<0.0001) in Lyme borreliosis patients (n=32) as compared to healthy controls (n=30). Significantly low (p<0.0001) levels of cytosolic ionized calcium were also observed in Lyme borreliosis patients (n=11) when compared to healthy controls (n=11). These results indicate that there is an imbalance of reactive oxygen species and cytosolic calcium in Lyme borreliosis patients. The results further suggest that oxidative stress and interrupted intracellular communication may ultimately contribute to a condition of mitochondrial dysfunction in the immune cells of Lyme borreliosis patients.