Investigators Find Missing Piece to Lyme Disease Puzzle

Pharmacy TimesAugust 2021
Volume 87
Issue 8
Pages: 70

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Professor Brandon Jutras and his laboratory at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg have been analyzing the ongoing Lyme disease epidemic and have found a possible missing factor in its spread, according to recent findings published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

“This discovery furthers our understanding of how Borrelia burgdorferi causes inflammation and disease,” lead study author Mari Davis said in a statement. “It is a testament to how unique this bacterium is and how we need to keep working to understand more about what is going on behind the scenes in order to develop future diagnostics and treatments.”

In 2019, Jutras identified peptidoglycan, the mesh-like bag made by bacteria to protect the inside of their cell, as the likely cause of the most common late-stage Lyme disease symptoms—inflammation and Lyme arthritis.

In this newest development, his lab discovered a protein—NapA (or, neutrophil-attracting protein A)—that plays an amplifying role in causing inflammation in patients with Lyme arthritis. The immunomodulatory molecule can “recruit” immune cells, or neutrophils, toward the inflammatory peptidoglycan, according to the study authors.

The laboratory tests showed that neutrophils rapidly migrate toward the side with NapA, proving that the protein is able to give off chemical signals that attract neutrophils in the direction of it and the peptidoglycan.


Virginia Tech researchers identify a missing piece of the Lyme disease puzzle. Virginia Tech. Published May 13, 2021. Accessed June 14, 2021.

Related Videos
Semaglutide Ozempic injection control blood sugar levels | Image Credit: myskin -
Image credit: motortion | - Young depressed woman talking to lady psychologist during session, mental health
Image credit:  JPC-PROD | - Choosing method of contraception : Birth control pills, an injection syringe, condom, IUD-method, on grey
Semaglutide Ozempic injection control blood sugar levels | Image Credit: myskin -
Health care provider examining MRI images of patient with multiple sclerosis -- Image credit: New Africa |
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.