Folia histochemica et cytobiologica

Alpha fucosidase and beta galactosidase in serum of a Lyme disease patients as a possible marker of accelerated senescence - a preliminary study.

PMID 22763966


Lyme disease (LD) is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in Europe. LD is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. LD is a chronic disease which can attack a number of organs: skin, heart, brain, joints. Chronic, low-grade inflammation involves general production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory markers and is a typical feature of aging. So far, the best method of diagnosing LD is a time-consuming and expensive two-stage serological method. The aim of our study was to evaluate the activity of two lysosomal exoglycosidases: α-fucosidase (FUC) and β-galactosidase (GAL) in the serum of patients with Lyme disease, as potential markers of LD. Due to the increasing number of patients with Lyme disease and a number of false results, new ways to diagnose this disease are still being sought. As elevated level of β-galactosidase is a manifestation of residual lysosomal activity in senescent cells, the increase in its activity in serum during chronic Lyme disease might be a marker of a potentially accelerated senescence process. The study was performed on serum taken from cubital veins of 15 patients with Lyme disease and eight healthy subjects (control group). FUC and GAL activity was measured by the method of Chatterjee et al. as modified by Zwierz et al. In the serum of patients with Lyme disease, GAL activity significantly increased (p = 0.029), and the activity of FUC had a tendency to increase (p = 0.153), compared to the control group. A significant increase in GAL activity in the serum of patients with Lyme disease indicates an increased catabolism of glycoconjugates (glycoproteins, glycolipids, proteoglycans) and could be helpful in the diagnosis of Lyme disease, although this requires confirmation in a larger group of patients. As GAL is the most widely used assay for detection of senescent cells, an elevated level of β-galactosidase might be a manifestation of accelerated senescence process in the course of Lyme disease.

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