Different Blood Tests for Lyme

Different Blood tests available for Lyme:

It recently became apparent that there seems to be very little information for patients about the tests that are used to determine Lyme disease / Borrelia Bacteria.

The first test that is traditionally given is the Elisa test.

An ELISA test uses different parts of the immune system and chemicals to detect immune responses in the body (for example, to infectious microbes). The ELISA test involves an enzyme (a protein that catalyzes a biochemical reaction). It also involves an antibody or    antigen (immunologic molecules).

ELISA tests are widely utilized to detect substances that have antigenic properties, primarily proteins (as opposed to small molecules and ions such as glucose and potassium). The substances detected by ELISA tests include hormones, bacterial antigens and antibodies.

There are variations of the ELISA test, but the most basic type consists of an antibody attached to a solid surface. This antibody has affinity for (will latch on to) the substance of interest, for example, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the commonly measured protein which indicates pregnancy. A mixture of purified HCG linked to an enzyme and the test sample (blood or urine) are added to the test system. If no HCG is present in the test sample, then only HCG with linked enzyme will bind. The more HCG that is present in the test sample, the less enzyme linked HCG will bind. The substance on which the enzyme acts is then added and the amount of product is measured in some way, such as a change in color of the solution. The measurements are checked and then answers are documented. * (portions of this is from Ask.com)

IFA is next.

“Immunofluorescence (IFA) is a traditional laboratory technique that utilizes fluorescent dyes to identify the presence of antibodies bound to specific antigens. The IFA is diagnostically very useful to detect the serologic response of a patient who has been exposed to certain infectious agents. The two classes of IFA are direct and indirect immunofluorescence. IMUGEN performs an IFA procedure for the detection of IgG antibody to Babesia microti and Ehrlichia chaffeensis.

Direct IFA uses a single fluorophore linked antibody for the direct detection of antigen. Indirect IFA uses a primary antibody which recognizes the antigen and then a secondary fluorophore linked antibody which recognizes the bound primary antibody. Antigen preparation used in IFA can be infected cells, a native cell line, a tissue section, or recombinant antigen proteins.

In the case of IFA testing for the detection of antibody to Babesia microti, each well of a multiple well microscope slide is coated with a preparation of RBC containing B. microti organisms and permanently affixed. Patient serum specimen is prepared and added to a well of a microscope slide. If the patient has been exposed to B. microti and has produced an immune response to this organism, the resulting B. microti specific antibodies will bind to the antigens on the slide. A washing step will remove any unbound patient antibody. A fluorescent dye labeled IgG anti-human antibody is then added and binds to the patient specific anti-Babesia antibody. Bound antibody-antigen complexes will fluoresce when examined microscopically.

IMUGEN utilizes an IFA as part of its B. microti serology testing. Specimens are screened at a single dilution and if positive at this dilution will be serially diluted to an endpoint titer. The final test result is reported as the highest dilution resulting in a positive fluorescent reaction. Certain titers are considered to be diagnostic of exposure and sero-conversion or a four-fold rise in titer is indicative of recent infection.” * (From Imugen.com)

Western Blot Test.

“The western blot (sometimes called the protein immunoblot) is a widely used analytical technique used to detect specific proteins in a sample of tissue homogenate or extract. It uses gel electrophoresis to separate native proteins by 3-D structure or denatured proteins by the length of the polypeptide. The proteins are then transferred to a membrane (typically nitrocellulose or PVDF), where they are stained with antibodies specific to the target protein. The gel electrophoresis step is included in western blot analysis to resolve the issue of the cross-reactivity of antibodies.”  (Wikipedia)

Other tests used are cd57 which is a test that measures B cells, T – cells and NK cells.

Lymphocytes, found in the blood, tissues and lymphoid organs, attack antigens (foreign proteins) in different ways. The main lymphocyte sub-types are B-cells, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells. B-cells make antibodies that are stimulated by infection or vaccination. T-cells and NK cells, on the other hand, are the cellular aggressors in the immune system.

Another is C6 Peptide and then some patients will have a positive ANA and /or high Reactive protein.

Some LLMD’s will actually do a blood smear. Histamine levels can also be checked for elevated levels which will be a sign of mast cells causing fatigue.

I hope this information is helpful and I have a dear friend Crystal for her helping me remember things.