Tracking Lyme Disease in Living Hosts

Real-Time High Resolution 3D Imaging of the Lyme Disease Spirochete Adhering to and Escaping from the Vasculature of a Living Host. PLoS Pathog 2008 4(6): e1000090
Pathogenic spirochetes are bacteria that cause a number of emerging diseases worldwide, including Lyme disease. Spirochetes exhibit an unusual form of helical motility and can infect many different tissues. However, the mechanism by which they disseminate from the blood to target sites is unknown. Direct visualization of bacterial pathogens at the single cell level in living hosts is important, since this approach is likely to yield critical insight into disease processes. In a recent paper, researchers engineered a fluorescent strain of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen, and used confocal microscopy to directly visualize these bacteria in real time and in 3D in living mice. They found that spirochete interaction with and dissemination out of the vasculature was a multi-stage process of unexpected complexity and that spirochete movement appeared to play an integral role in dissemination. This is the first report of high resolution 3D visualization of a bacterial pathogen in a living mammalian host, and provides the first direct insight into spirochete dissemination in vivo.

In the first section of this video you can see B. burgdorferi moving in the ear of a living mouse. The second section shows B. burgdorferi in a postcapillary venule in the skin of the mouse, and the third section shows the actual moment of escape from the blood vessel into the surrounding tissue.

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2 Responses to Tracking Lyme Disease in Living Hosts

  1. Amiya Sarkar says:

    Advances in imaging technology will let us see hitherto unknown and unseen processes in physiology and biochemistry. I’m eagerly waiting to see how the mitochondia produce ATP by oxidative phosphoryllation and also the DNAs in action.

  2. Linda says:

    I just started the antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease. I received a bite on my leg, right near the panty line. On the first day of medicine the rash disappeared by 50%, the second day more than 90% of the rash was gone. The burn from the rash went away too. I got on the Internet to find out more about the habits of ticks. I read that after a blood meal the tick will drop off. That made me feel better that the tick was gone. Then I read to prevent tick bites you should check your groin, underarms, behind your ears and your navel. Now I also had a burning feeling every time I urinated.
    So I got out a mirror and checked my groin. To my horror I saw three black specks. They were smaller than a poppy seed. Two just dropped off at the touch. I thought well maybe that was just some specks of dirt. The third speck ran away. Then it too dropped. After the first bite they did not drop off my body. They were ruffing up my skin to make it bleed. I had a very small sore area near a moist area in my groin. After the first bite on my leg they moved to my groin and instead of biting they were ruffing up the area to make it bleed. I also found a small amoung of blood on my underwear. It was all so disgasting.
    I washed everything on my bed, Vacumed the carpet. Washed my clothes. I had been outsmarted my a tick. The ticks are about the size of a poppy seed in the nymph stage and they are very hard to detect. I didn’t know that until after I was biten.
    It could very well be that people with long term Lyme Disease are contantly being reinfected. Most Doctors do not examine you they just give out drugs. That means you have to look for yourself. Check your navel too.
    What thiscould mean that just like crabs, ticks can be spread sexually.

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