Study of Borrelia spp. in Brazil

by Ataliba, Alexandre Camargo

Abstract (Summary)
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria belonging to the complex Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, which are transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes ricinus complex. The distribution of these bacteria are restricted to the northern hemisphere (North America, Europe, and Asia). Lyme disease-like cases have been reported in Brazil, but it is possible that another Borrelia species is involved in these cases, and ticks of the genus Amblyomma have been implicated as vectors. Due to these reasons, the disease in Brazil has been referred as Lyme Disease-Simile (LDS). Borrelia anserina, the agent of avian spirochetosis, has a wordwide distribution, where it is transmitted primarily by ticks of the genus Argas. The present study was divided in two chapters: the first one evaluated the presence of Borrelia spp in areas of the state of São Paulo where LDS have been reported. The second chapter reports the first in vitro isolation in BSK medium and molecular characterization of a spirochete strain from Brazil, presumably identified as B. anserina. For the first chapter, a total of 349 adult ticks (Amblyomma cajennense) collected in areas where LDS cases have been reported were processed. In addition, nine human blood or tissue samples from patients with clinical and serological diagnostic of LDS, two samples from BSK medium previously inoculated with samples of skin or blood of LDS patients, and three samples of BSK medium previously inoculated with tick samples were also processed. All these samples were processed for DNA extraction and then tested by nested-PCR employing primers targeting a portion of the flagelin B gene (flaB),which amplify a flaB fragment in all known Borrelia species. All samples were negative by this nested-PCR, showing no evidence of Borrelia sp in the tested samples. The second chapter evaluated an avian spirochete strain originated from Argas miniatus ticks from Pedro Leopoldo municipality, state of Minas Gerais. DNA fragments of the rrs (16S rRNA) and flab genes were amplified by PCR and sequenced to determine phylogenetic similarities. The resulting sequences were 99.8% (483 of 484) and 98.7% (754 of 764) similar to GenBank corresponding sequences of B. anserina rrs and flaB genes, respectively. By neighbor-joining phylogenetic analysis, the flaB sequence of the Brazilian strain clustered in a monophyletic group with the sequence of B. anserina under 100% bootstrap support. The isolate was successfully isolated in BSK medium, with seven passages performed. The spirochete crude antigen, fixed in glass slides, showed strong immunfluorescence reactivity with sera from chickens previously inoculated with the isolate. The spirochete strain isolated in the present study was genetically identified as B. anserina, labeled as strain PL.
This document abstract is also available in Portuguese.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Marcelo Bahia Labruna; Marcelo Bahia Labruna; Sonia Regina Pinheiro; Natalino Hajime Yoshinari

School:Universidade de São Paulo

School Location:Brazil

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:amblyomma cajennense Amblyomma Borrelia anserina anserine avian spirochetosis Lyme disease-Simili


Date of Publication:09/21/2006

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