"Lymphoid" chemokine messenger RNA expression by epithelial cells in the chronic inflammatory lesion of the salivary glands of Sjögren's syndrome patients: possible participation in lymphoid structure formation

Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Feb;44(2):408-18. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(200102)44:2<408::AID-ANR60>3.0.CO;2-0.


Objective: Many studies have shown that the microanatomic organization of infiltrating leukocytes in the salivary gland lesions of patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) resembles the structure of lymphoid organs. A newly defined set of chemokines referred to as "lymphoid," which orchestrate leukocyte microenvironmental homing and contribute to the formation of lymphoid structures, provides directional clues. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible existence of "lymphoid" chemokines in the chronic inflammatory lesions of SS patients and thus validate their potential involvement in the disease process.

Methods: Twelve patients with primary SS, 3 patients with secondary SS, 4 patients with other autoimmune disorders, and 4 control individuals were the subjects of this study. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis was performed in order to examine the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of "lymphoid" chemokines. Furthermore, in situ hybridization studies revealed chemokine mRNA localization. Immunohistochemistry was also applied in order to identify the cell types that expressed the chemokine mRNA.

Results: STCP-1/monocyte-derived chemokine and TARC mRNA were expressed in the majority of patients with primary and secondary SS, in 2 of 4 patients with other autoimmune disorders, and in 2 of 4 controls. BCA-1, ELC, and PARC mRNA were only detected in patients with primary and secondary SS. SLC mRNA was also detected in 1 non-SS patient. The main cellular sources of chemokine mRNA were ductal epithelial cells and infiltrating mononuclear leukocytes.

Conclusion: The expression pattern of "lymphoid" chemokine mRNA points further to the role of epithelial cells in the pathogenesis of SS and offers new insight into the potential mechanisms that could be involved in leukocyte attraction and in the in situ formation of secondary lymphoid tissue structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Chemokines / genetics*
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoid Tissue / chemistry*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Salivary Glands / chemistry*
  • Salivary Glands, Minor / pathology
  • Sialadenitis / complications
  • Sialadenitis / genetics*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / genetics*


  • Chemokines
  • RNA, Messenger