Serial sections of lower lip salivary gland (LSG) biopsies were examined by immunohistochemistry, using a battery of B- and partly T-related antibodies (CD5, CD20, CD21, CD27, CD38, CD45RO, CD79a, Bcl-2 and Bcl-6) in different groups of subjects: healthy controls and clinically verified smoking or nonsmoking cases of primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS). The purpose was to characterize the B-cell pattern of the lymphocytic foci and of the tiny perivascular infiltrates preceding the development of foci. Hyperplastic tonsil was used as stain control. In normal LSG, widely dispersed CD38+ and CD79a+ as well as some CD5+ cells are a normal constituent, with lack of staining with the other antibodies. In SS/LSG, the lymphocytic foci showed staining with all the antibodies, with variable degrees of overlapping or nonoverlapping. In SS/LSG of nonsmokers, CD20+ B cells make up a prominent part of the fully developed periductal lymphocytic foci, not overlapping with CD45RO. Also, CD20+ B cells did not overlap in the infiltrates with colocalized CD27+/CD38+ cells. CD20+ B cells and CD45RO+ T cells also occur as minute infiltrates perivascularly in areas of no foci in SS/LSG as well as in SS smokers lacking the typical foci. Smokers lack foci, but tiny infiltrates express CD20 as well CD45R0. Our findings suggest that CD20+ B cells and CD45RO+ T cells are early immigrants in the LSG of SS of smokers as well as nonsmokers and that another subgroup of CD27+/CD38+ B cells gradually mix with the first two to form the characteristic foci in SS/LSG. The simultaneous demonstration of CD20+ and CD27+ B cells in SS/LSG may constitute a significant diagnostic tool. Further, the findings suggest that the early immigrating lymphocytes may have been primed at a site remote from the glands before arriving via the blood to the gland tissue.