Is there really a cell wall deficient form of Borrelia?

Topics with information and discussion about published studies related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Martian
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Is there really a cell wall deficient form of Borrelia?

Post by Martian » Fri 14 Sep 2007 15:27

It is repeated all the time: Borrelia has a spirochete form, a cyst form, and a cell wall deficient (CWD) form. So, the cyst form and the CWD-form are seen as separate forms. But is this actually true? Is there really a cell wall deficient (CWD) / spheroplast / l-form / mycoplasma form of Borrelia?

There are a few studies which mention that CWD-forms were seen, but in recent years I have only seen studies mentioning the spirochete form and the cyst form were seen. Also, some studies (posted below) speak of "cysts (spheroplast L-forms)" and "Cystic forms (also called spheroplasts or starvation forms)".

Therefore, I suspect that the CWD-forms that were seen, were actually the same forms as the cyst forms, so not a distinct form.

My 2 cents.

Infection. 1998 May-Jun;26(3):144-50.

In vitro conversion of Borrelia burgdorferi to cystic forms in spinal fluid, and transformation to mobile spirochetes by incubation in BSK-H medium.
Brorson O, Brorson SH.

Dept. of Microbiology, Vestfold Sentralsykehus, Tønsberg.

The purpose of this study was to examine the structural alterations of Borrelia burgdorferi when exposed to spinal fluid. Normal, mobile spirochetes were inoculated into spinal fluid, and the spirochetes were converted to cysts (spheroplast L-forms) after 1-24 h. When these cystic forms were transferred to a rich BSK-H medium, the cysts were converted back to normal, mobile spirochetes after incubation for 9 to 17 days. The cultures were examined by dark field microscopy (DFM), interference contrast microscopy (ICM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). When neuroborreliosis is suspected, it is necessary to realize that B. burgdorferi can be present in a cystic form, and these cysts have to be recognized by microscopy. This study may also explain why cultivation of spinal fluid often is negative with respect to B. burgdorferi.

PMID: 9646104 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
APMIS. 2001 May;109(5):383-8.
Conversion of Borrelia garinii cystic forms to motile spirochetes in vivo.
Gruntar I, Malovrh T, Murgia R, Cinco M.

Institute of Microbiology and Parasitology, Veterinary Faculty, Ljubljana, Slovenia. gruntaig@mail.vf.uni-lj.si

Cystic forms (also called spheroplasts or starvation forms) and their ability to reconvert into normal motile spirochetes have already been demonstrated in the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. The aim of this study was to determine whether motile B. garinii could develop from cystic forms, not only in vitro but also in vivo, incyst -inoculated mice. The cysts prepared in distilled water were able to reconvert into normal motile spirochetes at any time during in vitro experiments, lasting one month, even after freeze-thawing of the cysts. Motile spirochetes were successfully isolated from 2 out of 15 mice inoculated intraperitoneally with cystic forms, showing the infectivity of the cysts. The demonstrated capacity of the cysts to reconvert into motile spirochetes in vivo and their surprising resistance to adverse environmental conditions should lead to further studies on the role and function of these forms in Lyme disease.

PMID: 11478686 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Joe Ham
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Re: Is there really a cell wall deficient form of Borrelia?

Post by Joe Ham » Sat 15 Sep 2007 18:25

FWIW,
On the New Haven Lyme DVD of 2006, Dr Steven Phillips draws no distinction between the various L-forms and, as best I remember, offers no comments on the clinical or therapeutic significance.

I will try to watch it again tonight, maybe transcribe some of it.

Another question that hasn't been addressed yet is whether the L-forms are part of a required life cycle of Bb. The Brorsons noted multiple chetes "hatching" from the cyst form and that might indicate that Bb uses the cyst form as a nursery. So the question becomes; does Bb have more that one way of propagating?

Martian
Posts: 1944
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Location: Friesland, the Netherlands

Re: Is there really a cell wall deficient form of Borrelia?

Post by Martian » Fri 21 Sep 2007 16:12

Joe Ham wrote:On the New Haven Lyme DVD of 2006, Dr Steven Phillips draws no distinction between the various L-forms and, as best I remember, offers no comments on the clinical or therapeutic significance.
I found the following in http://www.lymeinfo.net/medical/LDBibliography.pdf

Phillips SE, Mattman LH, Hulinska D, Moayad H.
A proposal for the reliable culture of Borrelia burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease, even from those previously aggressively treated.
Infection. 1998 Nov-Dec;26(6):364-7.
PMID: 9861561 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

From the full text:
"There has been a considerable spectrum of cell wall deficiency demonstrated in our laboratory. B. burgdorferi may exist in various forms depending on its environment. In addition to the spirochetal form, we have demonstrated its growth both as amorphous L-forms and rounded giant L-bodies which have been previously described as cystic forms (11,18). As B. burgdoferi reverts from cell wall deficiency with the rebuilding of its cell wall, classic spirochetal forms can be seen. Most often, in our cultures, B. burgdorferi can be seen in varying stages of reversion, i.e. some L-dependent spirochetal forms within an L-form"

This adds more confusion. What is cell wall deficiency? It seems to me that the cystic form is a spirochete (more or less a normal one?) inside a protective mucous cocoon.
Joe Ham wrote:Another question that hasn't been addressed yet is whether the L-forms are part of a required life cycle of Bb. The Brorsons noted multiple chetes "hatching" from the cyst form and that might indicate that Bb uses the cyst form as a nursery. So the question becomes; does Bb have more that one way of propagating?
I speculate that the cystic form is only to overcome unfavourable conditions. AFAIK Bb will propagate without using cystic forms when conditions are favourable.

Nick
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Re: Is there really a cell wall deficient form of Borrelia?

Post by Nick » Fri 21 Sep 2007 20:58

I agree there is a lot of confusing terminology, researchers use the cyst word for very different forms. Some of the cyst forms that are described seem to lack spirochete features like the internal flagella. Some 'cyst' forms may be nothing more than artefacts caused by external conditions that disturb the spirochete membrane/cell wall. Other cyst forms seem to require protein synthesis for conversion (in both directions) so theses cysts must be functionally different from the normal spirochete.

also, from MacDonald article in Medical Hypotheses (2006):

Stereotypes of what a spirochete "should " look like, have actually produced a state of "perseveration" in spirochetal pathobiology. We have been "stuck" like a broken record, on the corkscrew form, and have failed to see the rest of the life cycle.
Cystic, granular, and cell wall deficient spirochetal profiles, which were well known in the 19th and 20th centuries by such titans as Schaudinn, Hoffman, Noguchi, Delamater, Steiner, and Mattman, have been repudiated by professional microbiologists, and by pathologists who practice and who confer the status of 21st century truths in microbiology matters.
Proper microscopic study, as is required by Dr. Robert Koch's second postulate, for establishing links between microbes and disease, presupposes that the microscopist be aware of the complete array of morphologic repertoires of the alleged pathogen. (Morphologies, which are herein introduced.).

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