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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 504215, 12 pages
Review Article

Hamster and Murine Models of Severe Destructive Lyme Arthritis

1Wheaton Franciscan Laboratory, 11020 West Plank Court, Suite 100, Wauwatosa, WI 53226, USA
2College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
3Dako North America, Inc., Carpinteria, CA 93013, USA
4Section of Infectious Diseases, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA
5Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Madison, WI 53706, USA
6Department of Microbiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
7Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA

Received 20 July 2011; Revised 2 October 2011; Accepted 3 October 2011

Academic Editor: Franc Strle

Copyright © 2012 Erik Munson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arthritis is a frequent complication of infection in humans with Borrelia burgdorferi. Weeks to months following the onset of Lyme borreliosis, a histopathological reaction characteristic of synovitis including bone, joint, muscle, or tendon pain may occur. A subpopulation of patients may progress to a chronic, debilitating arthritis months to years after infection which has been classified as severe destructive Lyme arthritis. This arthritis involves focal bone erosion and destruction of articular cartilage. Hamsters and mice are animal models that have been utilized to study articular manifestations of Lyme borreliosis. Infection of immunocompetent LSH hamsters or C3H mice results in a transient synovitis. However, severe destructive Lyme arthritis can be induced by infecting irradiated hamsters or mice and immunocompetent Borrelia-vaccinated hamsters, mice, and interferon-gamma- (IFN-γ-) deficient mice with viable B. burgdorferi. The hamster model of severe destructive Lyme arthritis facilitates easy assessment of Lyme borreliosis vaccine preparations for deleterious effects while murine models of severe destructive Lyme arthritis allow for investigation of mechanisms of immunopathology.