Background: Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is occasionally associated with other autoimmune diseases.
Methods: To investigate the pathophysiology of AIP, we immunohistochemically examined the pancreas and other organs in eight patients with AIP, and in controls, using anti-CD4-T and CD8-T cell subsets, as well as IgG4 antibodies.
Results: In AIP patients, severe or moderate infiltration of IgG4-positive plasma cells associated with CD4- or CD8-positive T lymphocytes was detected in the peripancreatic tissue (6/6), bile duct (8/8), gallbladder (8/8), portal area of the liver (3/3), gastric mucosa (5/7), colonic mucosa (2/2), salivary glands (1/2), lymph nodes (6/6), and bone marrow (2/2), as well as in the pancreas (8/8). There were few IgG4-positive plasma cells at the same sites in controls.
Conclusions: These results suggest that AIP is not simply pancreatitis but that it is a pancreatic lesion involved in IgG4-related systemic disease with extensive organ involvement. We propose a new clinicopathological entity, of a systemic IgG4-related autoimmune disease in which AIP and its associated diseases might be involved. Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is occasionally associated with other autoimmune diseases.