Animal models of Lyme carditis. Understanding how to study a complex disease

TitleAnimal models of Lyme carditis. Understanding how to study a complex disease
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
JournalCurrent Problems in Cardiology
Date Published05/2024
AuthorsMaher S, Scott L, Zhang S, Baranchuk A
KeywordsAnimal models; Lyme carditis; Lyme disease.

Lyme carditis, a well-established manifestation of Lyme disease, has been studied in animal models to improve understanding of its pathogenesis. This review synthesizes existing literature on these models and associated disease mechanisms. Searches in MEDLINE, Embase, BIOSIS, and Web of Science yielded 53 articles (47 mice models and 6 other animal models). Key findings include: 1) Onset of carditis correlates with spirochete localization in the heart; 2) Carditis occurs within 10 days of infection, progressing to peak inflammation within 30 days; 3) Infiltrates were predominantly composed of Mac-1+ macrophages and were associated with increases in TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-12 cytokines; 4) Resolution of inflammation was primarily mediated by lymphocytes; 5) Immune system is a double-edged sword: it can play a role in the progression and severity of carditis, but can also have a protective effect. Animal models offer valuable insights into the evolution and pathophysiologic mechanisms of Lyme carditis.