I just got this article in my email and immediately thought of our conversation here. I thought it may be helpful for you to see: /www.technologynetworks.com/tn/news/missing-link-identified-between-the-immune-system-and-lyme-arthritis-297226
"Scientists at University of Utah Health believe they identified a mechanism that activates T cells, a key component of the immune system, which could explain the elusive link between a tick bite and persistent Lyme arthritis. The results are published online in the February 5th issue of The Journal of Immunology.
“We believe that in this model persistent Lyme arthritis is a result of [overactive] immune response,” said the study’s first author Sarah Whiteside, a graduate student in Janis Weis’s lab at U of U Health.
The researchers identified a receptor on T cells that interacts with molecules on the surface of B. burgdorferi. Like a key fitting into a lock, the receptors join in a process resulting in bystander activation. This activation mechanism triggers the T cell to produce inflammatory molecules that accumulate around the joints and contribute to inflammation and arthritis.
Some of the newly ‘turned-on’ T cells can interact with residual bacteria that persists long after the initial tick bite, producing a cascading cycle of inflammation that could lead to infection-induced autoimmunity.
“Through bystander activation, a whole repertoire of T cells may be activated, independent of their specificity for infecting pathogens,” said Weis, Ph.D., professor of Pathology at U of U Health.
Whiteside cautions the exact mechanism of T cell activation needs clarification, but the results from this study suggest new therapeutic approaches, such as focusing on anti-inflammatory mechanisms, might be more effective for patients with persistent Lyme arthritis.
“If you can suppress T cell activation for the short-term, we might help re-establish the control mechanism [for the immune response] in the body,” said Weis.
In addition to new therapies, future studies may focus on the broader implications of bystander activation for other pathogen-induced and autoimmune diseases."
While this is new research and we must wait for this to not only be verified and duplicated before we take this information and 'run with it' - it's another possible explanation for what's going on for both of us.