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Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies in childhood scleroderma

Background and aim

A possible aetiological connection between skin sclerosis and infection with Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) has been discussed. Studies investigating the link between Bb and morphea have produced conflicting results. In several series, all patients with morphea tested have been seronegative. Other studies have found specific antibodies to Bb in between 6% and 54% of patients with morphea.

To establish the frequency of ANA and specific antibodies to Bb in children with scleroderma.


44 children with scleroderma (4-SS, 40-LS) were tested. Clinical forms of LS: linear-10, morphea-8, morphea generalisata-4, profunda-6, pansclerotic-2, en coup de sabre (CSLS)-1, linear+morphea-7, CSLS+morphea-2. The patients sera were tested for ANA and Borrelia-specific IgG and IgM (recom – Blot BorreliaNB IgG and IgM Microgen).


ANA were detected in 3 of 4 patients with SS (75.0%) and 16 of 40 (40.0%) with LS. In 9 of 40 patients with LS (22.5%) were found antibodies to Bb with any correlation to the type of LS or its activity as well as to the presence of ANA. 5 children (12.5%) had positive IgM, another 2 (5.0%) – positive IgG and 2 children (5.0%) – both IgM and IgG. None of the patients had dokumented clinical evidence of previous infection with B. burgdorferi. All 4 patients with SS tested for the antibodies to Bb have been negative.


The role of the antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in the localized scleroderma is still unclear. Our results do not suggest a possible aetiological connection between Borrelia burgdorferi infection and systemic scleroderma.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Musiej-Nowakowska, E., Rutkowska-Sak, L., Wierzbowska, M. et al. Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies in childhood scleroderma. Pediatr Rheumatol 6 (Suppl 1), P228 (2008).

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