JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Up-regulation of Borrelia-specific IL-4- and IFN-gamma-secreting cells in cerebrospinal fluid from children with Lyme neuroborreliosis.

The clinical course and outcome of several infectious diseases are dependent on the type of immune response elicited against the pathogen. In adults with neuroborreliosis (NB), a type 1 response with high production of Borrelia-specific IFN-gamma, but no IL-4, has been reported. Since children have a more benign course of NB than adults, we wanted to investigate type 1 and type 2 responses in children with NB. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood were collected from children during the acute stage of 'confirmed NB' (n = 34), 'possible NB' (n = 30) and 'non-NB' (n = 10). The number of Borrelia-specific IL-4- and IFN-gamma-secreting cells was measured by enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Borrelia-specific secretion of both IL-4 and IFN-gamma was increased in CSF in confirmed (P < 0.05) and possible (P < 0.01) NB, when compared with non-NB controls. Furthermore, children with NB had significantly higher Borrelia-specific IL-4 secretion in CSF than an adult reference material with NB (P < 0.05). There were no differences in cytokine secretion in relation to onset or recovery of neurological symptoms. Since IL-4 is known to down-regulate the pro-inflammatory and possibly harmful effects of prolonged IFN-gamma responses, the prominent IL-4 response observed in the central nervous system compartment might contribute to the more benign disease course seen in children with Lyme NB.

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