Cytokines play a major role in tissue destruction caused by autoimmune dysregulation. In Sjögren's syndrome (SS) patients, salivary glands are the target organs for autoimmune tissue damage. In the present study, reverse trancriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to look for cytokine mRNA expressed in SS salivary glands. Focus score was used to determine the severity of the lesions. Cytokine production in supematants of the salivary gland cell culture was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Immunohistochemical staining was used to identify the local presence of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β). Interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6, and IL-10 mRNA were expressed in moderate to severe SS salivary gland lesions. TGF-β mRNA was constitutively expressed in normal and SS salivary glands. In SS salivary gland cell cultures, IL-6 and IL-10 proteins were produced. TGF-β production was reduced in high focus score SS glands. Normal and minimally involved SS salivary gland ductal epithelium and acinar cells were found to produce TGF-β by immunostaining. In conclusion, an excess production of IL-2, IL-6, and IL-10 and a reduced production of the immunosuppressive cytokine, TGF-β, may be responsible for the progression of the salivary gland lesion in SS. Specific immunotherapy can now be designed based on mechanisms to correct this cytokine imbalance and benefit patients with autoimmune diseases, such as SS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology