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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Western Blot IGM/IGG Question

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Author Topic: Western Blot IGM/IGG Question
Junior Member
Member # 49447

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I tested positive to IGM 39 on Western Blot through Lab Corp.

I realize that I need better testing and I am in the process of finding a LLMD.

From doing research I understand that IGM means that I have an active infection, and I am trying to remember when I was bitten by a tick?

How long does it take from being bitten to becoming IGM positive?

Assuming I did nothing and did not get treated, how long does it take to go from IGM positive to IGG positive?

If I did not get treated would I always stay IGM positive or would I move to IGG(past exposure)?

I guess what I am wondering is could I have this Lyme infection for years, and be IGM positive because I never received any treatment.

Posts: 3 | From PA | Registered: Dec 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Frequent Contributor (5K+ posts)
Member # 14183

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Yes, you could have had this infection for years. Lyme does not "follow the rules" regarding IgG and IgM.

So, the more you learn about lyme and it symptoms, often the further back in your life you can detect symptoms of lyme. I eventually concluded that I had likely had lyme for 10 years before I ever got diagnosed.

Here is lyme doc, Dr. C, from his "explanation of the Western Blot" talking about the IgG and IgM:

"With most infections, your immune system first forms IgM antibodies, then in about 2 to 4 weeks, you see IgG antibodies. In some infections, IgG antibodies may be detectable for years.

Because Borrelia burgdorferi is a chronic persistent infection that may last for decades, you would think patients with chronic symptoms would have positive IgG Western blots.

But actually, more IgM blots are positive in chronic borreliosis than IgG. Every time Borrelia burgdorferi reproduces itself, it may stimulate the immune system to form new IgM antibodies.

Some patients have both IgG and IgM blots positive. But if either the IgG or IgM blot is positive, overall it is a positive result.

Response to antibiotics is the same if either is positive, or both. Some antibodies against the borrelia are given more significance if they are IgG versus IgM, or vice versa.

Since this is a chronic persistent infection, this does not make a lot of sense to me. A newly formed Borrelia burgdorferi should have the same antigen parts as the previous bacteria that produced it.

But anyway, from my clinical experience, these borrelia associated bands usually predict a clinical change in symptoms with antibiotics, regardless of whether they are IgG or IgM."

So, as you can see, with lyme, IgG and IgM are meaningless. They both indicate exposure to lyme, but they do NOT tell you anything about how recent the exposure was.

Posts: 9931 | From Maryland | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 743

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TF and Dr C are correct .. The main thing is to begin your search for an LLMD. Band 39 is very specific to Lyme.

Opinions, not medical advice!

Posts: 96013 | From Texas | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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