We report that the spirochete B. burgdorferi induces progressive polyarthritis and carditis in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome (scid) but not in normal C.B-17 mice. The onset and severity of the disease were dependent on (a) the viability; (b) the infectivity; and (c) the dose of inoculated B. burgdorferi organisms. Infective spirochetes were isolated from both blood and joints of inoculated scid mice. These findings suggest that B. burgdorferi-induced chronic arthritis and carditis in mice develops independently of lymphocyte function and makes the scid mouse an attractive laboratory model to study the role of the immune system in experimental Lyme Borreliosis.

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