There Is Hope for Newer Lyme Testing
Using a combination of C3a and C4a blood testing may diagnose Lyme Disease more accurately.
By Ritch Shoemaker, M.D.
The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology has accepted our paper on use of elevated C3a and C4a as diagnostic tools for acute Lyme. Patients were seen within 48 hours of tick bite who did or didn't have ECM and who did or didn't have symptoms. The C3a and C4a levels in affected groups were markedly higher than in non-tick bites controls. ECM patients had higher levels than non-ECM. Alan Barbour gave us pure cultures of B. burgorferi and B. hermseii; when added to cell-free plasma, the same elevation of C3a and C4a was seen. Innate immune responses involving complement are seemingly non-specific, but this work provides a basis for comparison. The earliest we saw a rise in C4a was 14 hours after a tick bite. Sure beats taking two doses of doxycycline and guessing.
To do C3a and C4a testing, Dr. Shoemaker recommends you go to LabCorp. LabCorp will forward frozen plasma to National Jewish (NJC) in Denver. You must ask for the RIA (NJC) and not let LabCorp send the specimen to Cambridge where they do an ELISA.
Comment by Dr. T
Since this initial study, Dr. Shoemaker has followed these and other patients for over 2 years. He believes that an elevation of both C3A and C4A blood tests (which can be done at most labs and reflect activation of different parts of your immune system) suggest the presence of Lyme Disease (both acute and chronic) and warrant antibiotics and where warranted, treatment for neurotoxins. This is discussed in my book "From Fatigued to Fantastic!" in the section on neurotoxins.