Atrophosclerodermic Manifestations of Lyme Borreliosis

Elisabeth Aberer*, Nora Wutte
Department of Dermatology Medical University of Graz Auenbrugger Platz 8 A-8036 Graz, Austria

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© Aberer & Wutte; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Dermatology Medical University of Graz. Auenbrugger Platz 8 A-8036 Graz, Austria; Tel: 0043-316-385-13926; Fax: 0043-316-385-12466; Email:


This review summarizes the literature on scleratrophic skin lesions as a manifestation of a Borrelia infection. An association of morphea with Lyme borreliosis was mainly reported from Middle-European Countries, Japan and South America. B. afzelii has been identified predominantly from the chronic skin lesions of acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA) and has been cultivated from morphea lesions in isolated cases. Scleratrophic skin lesions like morphea, lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (LSA) and anetoderma have been observed in coexistence with ACA. Since all these diseases show clinical and histological similarities, they might have a common origin. The laboratory results that point to a borrelial origin of these diseases, however, are contradictory. Antibodies against B. burgdorferi were detected in up to 50% of patients. Borrelia DNA was shown in up to 33% of morphea and 50% of LSA patients. Borrelia were visualized on histological slides by polyclonal antibodies in up to 69% of morphea and 63% of LSA patients. In other reports no evidence of Borrelia – associated morphea or LSA has been reported. For anetoderma, single case reports showed positive Borrelia serology and/or PCR and a response to antibiotic treatment. The response of scleratrophic skin lesions to antibiotic treatment varies and can be seen in patients with or without a proven association to a Borrelia infection. This suggests that scleratrophic diseases might be of heterogeneous origin, but a Borrelia infection could be one cause of these dermatoses.

Keywords: B. burgdorferi sensu lato, Lyme borreliosis, Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, Morphea, Localized scleroderma, Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, Meningo-radiculoneuritis, Anetoderma.