July 10, 2024

Lyme disease, transmitted through tick bites, can leave patients with persistent neurological symptoms even after antibiotic treatment. However, a recent study conducted by Tulane University researchers offers hope to those suffering from long-term effects of the bacterial infection. 

Key Findings 

The study, published in Frontiers in Immunology, identifies fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors as a promising new approach to treating lingering neurological symptoms associated with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. These inhibitors  reduced inflammation and cell death in brain and nerve tissue samples infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease. 

Research Approach 

Principal investigator Geetha Parthasarathy, PhD, led the study, treating nerve tissue with live or inactivated Borrelia burgdorferi followed by FGFR inhibitors. Results demonstrated a notable reduction in inflammatory markers and cell death, suggesting the potential efficacy of targeting FGFR pathways in addressing persistent neuroinflammation. 

Implications and Future Directions 

While further research is needed to translate these findings into clinical treatments, the study represents a significant advancement in understanding and potentially managing post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. By focusing on underlying inflammation, researchers aim to develop treatments that improve the quality of life for patients affected by this debilitating condition. 

Supported by funding from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and resources from the Tulane National Primate Research Center, this study opens new avenues for research and treatment development, offering renewed hope to Lyme disease patients grappling with lasting symptoms. 

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