Antibody levels to recombinant tick calreticulin increase in humans after exposure to Ixodes scapularis (Say) and are correlated with tick engorgement indices

Martin L. Sanders, Gregory E. Glass, Robert B. Nadelman, Gary P. Wormser, Alan L. Scott, Syamal Raha, Bruce C. Ritchie, Deborah C. Jaworski, Brian S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The antibody responses of subjects who presented with a definite Ixodes scapularis (Say) tick bite were measured to determine the utility of the antibody response against recombinant tick calreticulin (rTC) as a biologic marker of tick exposure. Subjects bitten by I. scapularis evidenced an increase in anti-rTC antibody levels between visit 1 and visit 2 from 24.3 to 27.1 ng/μl serum (n = 88, p = 0.003), and levels remained elevated at visit 3 (p = 0.005). These anti-rTC antibody levels during visits 2 and 3 were significantly higher than those in four non-exposed controls. Tick engorgement indices, measured on the biting ticks, were found to be correlated with anti-rTC antibody levels (e.g., for visit 3: Pearson's r = 0.357, p = 0.001). Tick engorgement index (TEI), ratio of body length to scutal width, was identified to be the only independent predictor of anti- rTC antibody levels in linear regression models. Logistic regression revealed that a bite from an I. scapularis tick that became engorged (TEI >3.4) was a risk factor for anti-rTC antibody seropositivity (adjusted odds ratio for age and bite location = 7.4 (95% confidence interval 2.1-26.4)). The anti-rTC antibody test had a sensitivity of 0.50 and a specificity of 0.86 for a bite from I. scapularis that became engorged. Immunoblotting revealed that subjects made a specific anti-rTC antibody response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-784
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume149
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 1999

Keywords

  • Antibody
  • Biologic marker
  • Ixodes
  • Lyme disease
  • Tick

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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