Inhibitory effects of autoantibodies on the muscarinic receptors in Sjögren's syndrome

Lab Invest. 2004 Nov;84(11):1430-8. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.3700173.


Sjogren's syndrome (SS) is a systemic autoimmune disease that involves reduced salivary secretions. Recently, circulating autoantibodies from SS patients against the type 3 muscarinic cholinergic receptor (M3R) has been reported in the sera of SS patients. However, the role of these autoantibodies in the development of SS has not been elucidated. In this study, purified IgG was obtained from the sera of 11 SS patients, and its inhibitory effect on the M3R of the salivary glands was evaluated using RT-PCR, microspectrofluorimetry, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot analysis. Stimulation with carbachol (CCh) evoked a [Ca2+]i transient in the fura-2 loaded HSG cells. However, pretreatment of the cells with SS IgG (0.5 mg/ml) for 12 or 24 h significantly reduced the magnitude of the CCh-induced [Ca2+]i transient (CICT). We found that the magnitude of CICT was decreased by 62-45% when cells were pretreated with the SS IgG. However, the [Ca2+]i response to ATP was not altered by the pretreatment of SS IgG. The effect of SS IgG on CICT was abrogated by the inclusion of excessive competitive peptides that encode the amino-acid sequence of M3R, which was not recapitulated by nonspecific peptides. The inhibitory effect of SS IgG on the aquaporin (AQP)-5 expression was also examined. After confirming the apical localization of AQP-5 along with its increase by pilocarpine (10(-5) M), we examined whether SS IgG had an effect on pilocarpine-induced AQP-5 trafficking to the apical membrane (APM) using rat parotid acinar cells. After incubating the cells with SS IgG for 12 h, the amount of pilocarpine-induced AQP-5 significantly decreased compared to the control groups. In conclusion, autoantibodies from the SS patients inhibit the function of the human M3R that is mediated by Ca2+ mobilization and AQP-5 trafficking. Our results could partly explain the underlying mechanisms of glandular dysfunction and associated features of impaired autonomic function in SS patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aquaporin 5
  • Aquaporins / metabolism
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Carbachol / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / pharmacology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Pilocarpine / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M3 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M3 / genetics
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M3 / immunology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Salivary Glands / drug effects
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / blood
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology*


  • AQP5 protein, human
  • Aquaporin 5
  • Aquaporins
  • Autoantibodies
  • Calcium Channels
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M3
  • Pilocarpine
  • Carbachol
  • Calcium