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Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Sat 18 Feb 2012 0:14
by inmacdonald
Radolf,J and Colleagues , PLOS Pathogen 2012, February

Round Bodies of Borrelia burgdorferi in TickMidgut formed by the influence of RpoS gene activity and the associated extra spirochetal chemical composition

Herein are images from the article by Dr Radolf which demonstrate that borrelia Round Bodies
are an ESSENTIAL component of the borrelia existence inside the midgut of the Ixodid pathogen.
(please read the full text of the article - attached)

Excerpted Key Images from Dr Radolf and colleagues' article. See PLOS Pathogen website for
free download of the entire article (free)

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Sat 18 Feb 2012 0:17
by inmacdonald
Round bodies of Borrelia burgdorferi (Cysts // Gemmae)
are here to stay.

See Dr Justin Radolf et al, article in PLOS Pathogen Feb 2012.... Images above ....

Respectfully submitted,

Alan B. MacDonald MD

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Sat 18 Feb 2012 0:55
by ChuckG

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Sat 18 Feb 2012 16:52
by X-member
Thank you, Alan B MacDonald MD, and ChuckG! 8-)

Edit to add:

Wow! :D

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Sun 19 Feb 2012 6:56
by Camp Other
inmacdonald wrote: Herein are images from the article by Dr Radolf which demonstrate that borrelia Round Bodies
are an ESSENTIAL component of the borrelia existence inside the midgut of the Ixodid pathogen.
(please read the full text of the article - attached)
Thank you for posting this, Dr. MacDonald.

Yes, I did read the full text of the paper and linked to the abstract on my blog.

This paper does seem to indicate that until the time is right for spirochetes to be transmitted to the host and the correct signaling molecule is present - the spirochetes are in a round body form.

Thank you for posting the images to the forum. These are very interesting and remind me of Alan Barbour's earlier images.

I am familiar with Brorsons work, too, but would really like to see more evidence that the round body or "cyst" form is necessary for persistence. A lot of people speculate that it is - however, I don't assume that would be necessary for Borrelia persistence when in so many times in animal model post-mortem the spirochetes are found spread out in tissue and in elongated form between cells in extracellular space. In Barthold's equine study they are found in the adventitia of the heart and in he's found them in other tissues in animals including the brain - but none of them in a round body or "cyst" form.

If Borrelia have persister cells, if Borrelia have their own analog of an efflux pump - then is a round body form really necessary for persistent infection? (this of course running with the hypothesis that Borrelia burgdorferi can persist and not only survive standard antibiotic treatment - but be viable, infectious, and reproduce)

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Tue 15 May 2012 14:23
by inmacdonald
Borrelia Round bodies ( Cyst forms) - Spontaneously developing in Ixodid tick midgut:
Barbour et al Microbiological Reviews 1985
Scanning electron Micrograph of Ixodid Tick gut :
Spiral (Vegetative forms) and rounded bodies (Cyst forms) coexist:

NOTE: CLICK ON THE IMAGE TOSEE THE ENTIRE FIELD -OR scroll the image to see the round bodies.
There is a carpet of spiral borrelia punctuated by much larger caliber rounded cytic forms
Net of Spirochetes inTick midgut with bulbous forms and ECM.jpg
The Cystic forms ( Round bodies) in 1985 again appear in the Radolf 2012 Study of RpoS in the Ixodid tick gut
Net of Spirochetes inTick midgut with bulbous forms and ECM.jpg (134.76 KiB) Viewed 7055 times
Respectfully sumitted,
Alan B.MacDonaldMD
May 15, 2012

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Tue 15 May 2012 17:31
by inmacdonald
A Smaller Image from Dr Barbour's paper showing round Bodies (cystic forms)
and some Images of Borrelia burgdorferi Cystic forms spontaneously present in log phase
cultures of Bb - No adverse conditions present - No Antibiotics present

Net of Spirochetes inTick midgut with bulbous forms and ECM resized.jpg
Round bodies (Cystic forms) in Ixodid tick gut admixed with a carpet of spiral (vegetative forms) to form a community of spirohetes - A Bioflm in the Tick gut
Net of Spirochetes inTick midgut with bulbous forms and ECM resized.jpg (63.71 KiB) Viewed 7044 times
Cyst and spiral 4 RML SERIES.jpg
Simultaneous Cystic and Spiral Borrelia burgdorferi in the same microscopic field
Cyst and spiral 4 RML SERIES.jpg (20.2 KiB) Viewed 7044 times
cyst 10.jpg
Cystic Borrelia burgdorferi cultured from human spinal fluid - patient with neuroborreliosis and positve CSF western Blot test
cyst 10.jpg (16.04 KiB) Viewed 7044 times

Respectfully submitted,
Alan B. MacDonald MD

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Wed 16 May 2012 15:48
by inmacdonald
Cystic forms and Round Bodies of Borrelia- The essential issues:

1. Do Borrelia burgdorferi spiral (vegetative) forms produce Cystic forms under
natural conditions?
---------Answer: Yes. Cystic forms develop in the tick gut along with spiral forms
and interconvert back into spirals in the tick gut.
-------------Answer: Yes . Cystic forms develop in parallel in log phase cultures of Borrelia
burgdorferi in BSK H medium. The Culture conditions are ideal.
----------Answer Yes: Borrelia burgdorferi which are frozen in Spinal fluid when put into
Culture medium, produce Cystic forms in ever increasing number. The Drs. Brorson
have demonstrated that Cystic Borrelia are capable of Cell division and
cyst number independent of reconverting back to spiral forms.

2. Do Borrelia burgdorferi Cystic forms participate in tissue injury in Lyme Borreliosis:
-----------------Answer: Yes. Dr. Hulinska has demonstrated Cystic Bb at the tick bite site
by electron microscopy.
-------------------Answer: Yes. I have demonstrated Cystic forms of Bb invading individual brain
cells in Alzheimer's disease brain tissue.
These observations offer proof that Cystic Borrelia have a life of their own, independent of or in
parallel with Spiral and granular forms of borrelia burgdorferi.

Laboratory models of Cyst generation by placing spiral Bb into hostile environments
are a tool to study the morphologic diversity of Cystic borrelai:
The diversity includes at present: Early forms cystic: ( with rolled up easily visible internal
spiral forms inside of the developing cyst), Later forms Cystic ( with breakup up the internal spiral
forms into granular forms-ie Granule-rich Cystic forms), and Late forms Cystic ( in which there is the formation of nucleoids of every increasing size and complexity within the Cyst central regions). At their maximum- the large nucleoids resemble degenerating nucleus material from Eukaryotic cells - so called
Apoptotic bodies)
In sum Cystic Borrelia are real, living entities, capable of dividing, capable of tissue injury, and capable of persistence and resistance to Antibiotics.

Alan B. MacDonald MD
May 16,2012

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Thu 17 May 2012 15:12
by X-member
Thank you, Dr MacDonald.

Re: Info about Lyme round bodies (cyst form)

Posted: Fri 18 May 2012 22:05
by hv808ct
Lately, LymeNet Europe seems to have become a dumping ground for numerous micrographs of spirochetes and assorted debris. This would be understandable if: 1) this site was an online class for the interpretation of scanning and transmission electron micrographs or 2) the site was peopled with professional microbiologists and infectious disease experts able to interpret such images. But it’s not either of those things. So why all the imagery?

I assume it’s to continue pushing the idea that B. burgdorferi is a weirdly unique bug in the world of bacteriology and that it does things never before seen in other bacteria.

I’m referring chiefly to the idea that B. burgdorferi forms some kind of “cyst,” which magically shields it from the effects of antibiotics and immunity, and thereby allows it to set up a permanent infection.

In the 1870s, when an Italian astronomer described some of the surface features of Mars with the word “canali” (meaning channels or grooves), he had no idea the word would be misinterpreted as the artificial constructs of a desperate intelligence. (Cue Orson Wells.)

The same thing seems to have happened with the word “cyst.” It’s not a word one will find in Bergey’s Manual of Bacteriology. Bleb, endospore, membrane, granule, pleomorphic, vesicle, spheroplast—plenty of those words—but no cyst. The word “cyst” first seems to have been used in connection with B. burgdorferi by German-speaking pathologists and physicians studying the morphology of spirochetes. Whether something got lost in the German-to-English translation, or because they were physicians and pathologists and using a familiar medical term to describe an unfamiliar microbial structure, is hard to say.

For the record, “a cyst is a closed, saclike structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material and is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.” (

And that’s probably what these Swiss pathologists had in mind in 1989 when they were describing membranous structures associated with commensal spirochetes. They used words like cyst, cyst-like, encystment and intracystic.

Our in vitro findings suggest that the spirochaetes may actually develop in cysts.

Despite extensive electron microscopic examination of the biopsies from our patients, we have not been able to detect cystic structures in the tissue similar to the cyst-like structures found in vitro.

Therefore, it seems possible that human intestinal spirochaetes form these cyst-like structures for protection and multiplication outside of the host only to ensure survival in environments lacking optimal growth conditions.

Gebbers JO, Marder HP. Unusual in vitro formation of cyst-like structures associated with human intestinal spirochaetosis. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1989 Apr;8(4):302-6. Institute of Pathology, Kantonsspital Lucerne, Switzerland.

In Austria in 1995:

By light microscopy, Preac-Mursic et al. observed blebs, spherical structures, and granules in B. burgdorferi cultures during incubation with antibiotics.

From our studies it could not be determined whether the cystic structures seen after 96 h of incubation with antibiotics were able to survive.

According to experiences from studies with other spirochetes it is suggested that encysted borreliae, granules, and the remaining blebs might be responsible for the ongoing antigenic stimulus leading to complaints of chronic Lyme borreliosis.

Lysis of cells with residual membranes and empty protoplasmic cylinders and numerous membrane blebs are shown.

By dark-field microscopy and ultrastructural investigations, increasing blebbing and the gradual formation of granular and cystic structures could be followed during the exposure time.

By transmission electron microscopy, intact spirochetal parts, mostly situated in cysts, were seen up to 96 h after exposure with all three antibiotics tested.

Kersten A, Poitschek C, Rauch S, and Aberer E. Effects of Penicillin, Ceftriaxone, and Doxycycline on Morphology of Borrelia burgdorferi. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, May 1995, p. 1127–1133. Department of Dermatology, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

In Germany in 1996:

Very interesting are the membrane blebs which have been observed and described earlier by Barbour and Hayes and Preac Mursic et al. Many years ago, Swain demonstrated the encysted form of pathogenic spirochaetes by electron microscopy. Transmission electron microscopic (TEM) studies showed the presence of large bubbles (1.0-1.6 ~m) and encysted forms of leptospirae and borreliae. Encysted forms were occasionally adherent to the end or the middle of the organism or were separated (Leptospira).

Recultivation of B. burgdorferi strains was not always successful. After treatment of strains with penicillin G (3 mg/1), subculturing of some colonies from PMR-agar was unsuccessful…. We also observed reduction in viable cell counts after subculturing of B. burgdorferi from MKP- to PMR-medium. Furthermore, the reversion of the nonmotile "rigid" form into the motile helical form was not possible in any of the patient specimens.

The blebs (cyst) forms induced with penicillin G during growth of B. burgdorferi in MKP-medium are similar to encysted Spirochaeta duttoni demonstrated by Swain.

In our "encysted" form we have not seen evidence of borrelia fragments, but we found "whole" or "intact" and "empty" forms as described by Garon et al. We could not directly compare our findings of atypical forms in B. burgdorferi strains with results of other investigators because different conditions and organisms were tested.

Nevertheless, we speculate that these atypical Borrelia forms are spheroplast-L-phase forms as can be found in other bacterial species. It is currently held that conversion to L-form as well as formation of spheroplasts may be a universal property of bacteria.

Pleomorphism, the presence of elongated forms, the inability of cells to replicate, the induction by exposing B. burgdorferi to penicillin G, the long period of adaptation to growth in MKP-medium and the mycoplasma-like colonies after growth on PMR-agar suggest that B. burgdorferi produce spheroplast-L-phase forms (SL-forms).

Mursic VP, Wanner G, Reinhardt S, Wilske B, Busch U, Marget W. Formation and cultivation of Borrelia burgdorferi spheroplast-L-form variants. Infection. 1996 May-Jun;24(3):218-26. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, German

More recently, Pavia tried to put all this cyst nonsense to rest when he noted:

…the evidence for the so-called cyst or other biologically active pleomorphic forms of Bb is not compelling at all. Indeed, much of what has been touted as cysts have been, for the most part, in vitro-generated lifeless forms of unknown pathogenicity. Such irregularly shaped organisms have been produced artificially, primarily by culturing Bb under suboptimal conditions. On the other hand, it is possible that what is being referred to as 'cysts' here may actually be the small membranous vesicles or blebs (or circular pouches) that were well-described many years ago as occurring in both Bb and in the very closely related spirochete Borrelia hermsii. These blebs were found to be essentially remnants of whole Borrelia organisms that were disintegrating following exposure to borreliacidal levels of antibodies or antibiotics. Similar results were found in our laboratory after various strains of Bb were treated with three different antibiotics. These inert blebs also appear as part of the natural process of Bb organisms gradually dying off in ageing cultures maintained in BSK medium. Their role or purpose, if any, has yet to be determined and they have never been shown to be infectious.

The improper and confusing use of the term cyst is another mistake. In microbiological nomenclature and for taxonomic purposes, only parasites (and not bacteria), such as Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lambdia, produce cysts. These have been well-characterised and there is indisputable evidence that these parasitic cyst forms, which are considered to be a resting or inactive stage, can give rise to disease-causing vegetative stages, which are then called trophozoites.

It thus becomes important to realise that suitably qualified microbiologists should serve as 'gatekeepers' when new, extraordinary and unusual microbiologically related claims or findings are pre¬sented or published, in order to ensure the accuracy or authenticity of such phenomena.

Pavia CS. The Lyme disease controversies continue. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Oct;12(10):1615-20.

Indeed. Such claims will be presented at professional meetings and published in peer-review journals. They will not be posted to an open forum on the Internet.