The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends a 2-tier serologic approach to Lyme disease laboratory diagnosis, comprised of an initial serum enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for antibody to Borrelia burgdorferi followed by supplementary IgG and IgM Western blotting of EIA-positive or -equivocal samples. Western blot accuracy is limited by subjective interpretation of weakly positive bands, false-positive IgM immunoblots, and low sensitivity for detection of early disease. We developed an objective alternative second-tier immunoassay using a multiplex microsphere system that measures VlsE1-IgG and pepC10-IgM antibodies simultaneously in the same sample. Our study population comprised 79 patients with early acute Lyme disease, 82 patients with early-convalescent-phase disease, 47 patients with stage II and III disease, 34 patients post-antibiotic treatment, and 794 controls. A bioinformatic technique called partial receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) regression was used to combine individual antibody levels into a single diagnostic score with a single cutoff; this technique enhances test performance when a high specificity is required (e.g., ≥95%). Compared to Western blotting, the multiplex assay was equally specific (95.6%) but 20.7% more sensitive for early-convalescent-phase disease (89.0% versus 68.3%, respectively; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] for difference, 12.1% to 30.9%) and 12.5% more sensitive overall (75.0% versus 62.5%, respectively; 95% CI for difference, 8.1% to 17.1%). As a second-tier test, a multiplex assay for VlsE1-IgG and pepC10-IgM antibodies performed as well as or better than Western blotting for Lyme disease diagnosis. Prospective validation studies appear to be warranted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Microbiology (medical)