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709619 tn?1230161475

What else causes low CD57?

it seems like there are a lot of people with questions related to CD57.  It would be nice to have a doctor give an overview of the marker, eh?

anyway, i got my CD57 back today and I clocked in at 40 but I'm still waiting on western blot.  My dr said that it wasn't that low but it was lower than average.  The scientific literature says 60-360 is the normal range.  My white blood cell count is normal, EMG and NCS are normal, brain and C-spine MRI normal, and neurological exams are normal, but I'm still dealing with strange, diffuse pain and muscle twitching with the recent development of eye and throat pressure.

Besides lyme disease, what else does a low CD57 point to?  I know it can be low for HIV but that's out of the quesiton for me as I've been married for 10, and I had an HIV test before I was married and I haven't have blood transfusion.  SO...what else does a supressed CD57 indicate?  High CD57 is indicative of cancer, but low????

your input is appreciated.

118 Responses
Avatar universal
What an awesome discussion. According to my physician, the only people who would have a low CD57 would be those who were affected by lyme disease or HIV. I know that there are many controversial theories out there, but I read somewhere that lyme mimics(MS, RA, Lupus) patients did not test low on the CD57 test. Most people say that there is limited information on the test, but when I research CD57, it tends to go hand in hand with lyme disease or what I would think to be a co-infection of lyme disease. This is a interesting topic and I hope others chime in on this discussion.
709619 tn?1230161475
I don't know if you've read Stricker and Winger (2001) but here's a link to the abstract:


I believe Stricker is the person who discovered the use of CD57 for detecting Lyme.  I read the paper and there's no mention of other conditions that trigger a low CD57 except HIV.  If you want a copy of the paper, send me your email via a personal message through the forum and I shoot it to you.

Avatar universal
This is a great question and has been my question recently as I just was told my CD57 is 38 which my doctor says is indicative of Chronic Lyme.  I have been getting IVs with large amounts of Vit. C and he has started me on a 6 week trial of doxycycline.  He will retest my CD57 after the 6 week trial and see if it has improved.  He said the CD57 should be at least 60.  I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia one year ago and progressively got worse until I was in the hospital.  Knowing Fibro wouldn't make me so ill, I searched for other answers.  Glad I did because from what I understand, people with Fibro don't have a low CD57. I also have EBV and wondered if viruses could lower the CD57.

I hope others get involved in this discussion...
Avatar universal

I found the paper very interesting. I was somewhat surprised that the paper mentioned people with MS, lupus, and RA. I really wanted to know what the results were for people who have MS, but according to the paper, the results were inconclusive. I just want to know what I have and I want to be able to stop thinking about the possibility of this being anything else but LD. I am anxious to get my Igenix results back. My doctor wants to be sure this is what we are dealing with, which goes back to the same question; if its not lyme, what is it and why would my CD57 be low if it was not lyme disease????
Avatar universal
Were any other doctors you met besides LLMD familiar with CD57?

I have to see if I can dig out paper, I think Dermatology journal showed correlation to Psorisis and thought it was linked to auto-immune conditions. I can't remember exactly, I will look.
709619 tn?1230161475
my neuro is supposed to call me today to give me the results from other blood work i had earlier this week.  when i speak to him i'll hit him up with questions regarding low CD57.  I didn't use him for testing me for lyme, as he told me it didn't occur in the state where i live (which isn't true).

i'll post an update on this thread after I speak with him (fingers crossed he actually calls me today.  i know the lab work is done b/c his assistant said it was.).

oh...and the sample size for that second paper i sent you was 25 people, which is smaller than the first.  i'm an ecologist and I'd never make any conclusions across an entire population with such a small sample sizes, but maybe that's the norm for medicine.

Avatar universal
My LLMD mentioned the CD57, but my neuro brought it up when I told him I was getting the Igenix test done. He admitted that this was not a test that he knew a lot about, but that the LLMD could tell me more about it. This is the only information I received from any doctor other than the LLMD.
Avatar universal
Your neuro sounds a lot like the first 6 doctors that I saw here! All of them kept saying the same thing, there is no lyme disease in Georgia. What a headache! Please keep us informed on your other results.
709619 tn?1230161475
Just stumbled on this info posted on another forum by an RN while searching the web.  like with everything else on the internet, don't assume it's all grounded in good science.

A below-normal count has been associated with chronic Lyme disease by the work of Drs. Raphael Stricker and Edward Winger. No one knows for sure why CD57+ NK cells are low in Lyme disease patients, but it is important to note that many disease states that are often confused with chronic Lyme (MS, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) are not associated with low CD57+ NK counts. The good news is that for most Lyme patients the CD57+ NK level increases as treatment progresses and health is regained.

CD57 markers can also be expressed on other kinds of cells, including T-cells, so it is important to distinguish between CD57+ T-cells and CD57+ NK cells. Clinicians need to be aware that many testing laboratories claiming to perform the CD57 test are actually looking at CD57+ T-cells rather than CD57+ NK cells, which are the cells of interest in chronic Lyme disease.
Avatar universal
My understanding of the CD 57 is that it is low in chronic lyme and AIDS.  I would also bet it would be low in anyone who is immunosuppressed such as people with transplants and people undergoing chemo.
Avatar universal
I certainly hope LD is the reason my CD 57 is so low. I have already had 2 HIV tests and I know that I am negative. Its hard just sitting here waiting on results. I even called Igenix on yesterday to make sure that they had my results and I was told that they did and that the results would be ready next Thursday. I am just tired of all of this and really feeling down and depressed about all of it today. I want my life back, but I really want to know what is going on with me most of all.
709619 tn?1230161475
my neuro didn't anything about CD57 or lyme disease, and suggested in get back in touch with my PCP and a infectious disease doctor.

Avatar universal
Searching on another web site  I found: One person mentioned that they felt better after antibiotics, but found no increase in CD57. Another person said that the LLMD didn't place much weight on this test.  I guess not all LLMDs put a lot of faith in this measurement, as mine did.   Note that LabCorp has a qualifier that says this test is only for informational purposes, or something like that.
Avatar universal
I have an e-mail to Professor Garth Nicolson who studies mycoplasma infections to ask him what all can lower the CD57. He may have some insight.
709619 tn?1230161475
please let us know what Dr. Nicolson says when you hear back from him.  thanks for contacting him.
Avatar universal
I haven't heard back from Dr. Nicolson yet.  I also just put an e-mail in to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, Medical Director of Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers.  He studies how chronic infections like Lyme, EBV, Mycoplasma, HHV-6, etc cause Fibro and Chronic Fatigue.  I am hopeful he will answer the question about the CD57, but I read that he cannot answer all his e-mails even though he tries.  It's worth a shot though. I hope I hear from at least one of them and will share all info if I hear back.
Avatar universal
Dr. Nicolson e-mailed me.  I explained the low CD57 and he said it could be mycoplasma infections, but he didn't comment on the Lyme. He said about 70% of people with Fibromyalgia symptoms have mycoplasma infections.  We all know that Fibromyalgia can be a stage of Lyme, but he did not discuss Lyme at all in regards to the CD57.  The Fibro Center I visited did a blood test for mycoplasma infections, but I remember reading somewhere that these tests may not be the most reliable either. It seems like the same situation as Lyme.

I also asked him about the product from Chisolm Biological Labs for Lyme called Immunfactors and he said this has proven useful, but not everyone responds.  He did mention there is also a formula for mycoplasma infections which is once again useful, but not everyone responds.

So, do we have Lyme or Mycoplasma infections or both...we can only guess if we don't have reliable tests for either one.
Avatar universal
I heard the same thing about Mycoplasma testing.  Another ambiguous test result.........
709619 tn?1230161475
So is it fair to say that the CD57 marker is a general metric for looking at various immune conditions and that we should not put too much confidence in it?  it's hard for me to believe that some doctors treating people for Lyme based simply on the CD57 results, especially since there are so many mixed opinions on it efficacy.
Avatar universal
It appears if your CD57 improves after a course of antibiotics, that you have some kind of chronic bacterial infection, but it may not be safe to assume it's Lyme as Mycoplasma Infections are also treated with antibiotics.  

My doctor said that he had a patient who had all the symptoms of Lyme and a low CD57, but a negative Lyme test and her symptoms and CD57 improved after 6 weeks of doxycycline.  This is what he was trying to do with me, but I started having an adverse reaction to the doxy and had to stop, but this is another story for which I will post a separate question. My current doctor is an alternative M.D., not a LLMD.

I did send another e-mail to Prof. Nicolson asking about how we go about testing for mycoplasmas and which tests are more reliable. I know there are several species of mycoplasmas which makes testing that much more difficult.
Avatar universal
Dr. Nicolson responded regarding testing for mycoplasma infections and other chronic infections including Lyme which suppress the immune system. He recommends PCR testing for mycoplasma species, chlamydia pneumoniae, HHV-6 and Cytomegalovirus at the following lab: RED Laboratories USA (http://www.redlabsusa.com).  He recommends testing for Lyme Disease with IGeneX Laboratories (http://www.igenex.com)

You will need a physician to order the test kits.
Avatar universal
I'm a little late to this post, but I was wondering if you found out from igenex if it was lyme or not?

hope you feel better =)
Avatar universal
Hi, snow.  I haven't seen the people in the thread above post here for quite a while.  You might try sending a private message if you're so inclined.

Welcome to MH/Lyme.
Avatar universal
I had the cd57 test done here in australia and mine come back at 39.
My G.P. who deals with lyme patients said I have chronic lyme, and I have just had bloods done and they are on way to america to igenex.
Does anyone know if igenex give false positives.
Do people with ms have low cd57 also?
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