Borrelia burgdorferi tissue morphologies and imaging methodologies



This manuscript offers an image presentation of diverse forms of Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes which are not spiral or corkscrew shaped. Explanations are offered to justify the legitimacy of tissue forms of Borrelia which may confuse the inexperienced microscopic examiner and which may lead to the misdiagnosis of non-spiral forms as artifacts. Images from the author’s personal collection of Borrelia burgdorferi images and a few select images of Borrelia burgdorferi from the peer-reviewed published literature are presented. A commentary justifying each of the image profiles and a survey of the imaging modalities utilized provides the reader with a frame of reference. Regularly spiraled Borrelia are rarely seen in solid tissues. A variety of straightened, undulating, and clipped-off profiles are demonstrated, and the structural basis for each image is explained. Tissue examination is a diagnostic tool and a quality control for judging the eradication or the persistence of borreliosis following attempts to eradicate the infection with antibiotic therapy. The presence or absence of chronic Lyme borreliosis may be objectively adjudicated by tissue examinations which demonstrate or which fail to show pathogenic microbes in patients who have received a full course of antibiotics.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Environmental ScienceDr. Eva Sapi Borrelia Research Laboratory, University of New HavenWest HavenUSA

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