B cell activating factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are members of the tumour necrosis factor superfamily. We have examined circulating BAFF and APRIL in relation to serological deviations and lymphoid organization in the salivary glands of the chronic, autoimmune disorder Sjögren's syndrome. Lymphoid organization in the shape of ectopic germinal centers were detected in 33 of 130 consecutive minor salivary gland biopsies and coincided with increased focus score and elevated levels of serum IgG. Follicular dendritic cell networks, proliferation of mononuclear cells and altered B/T cell ratio also separated the two subgroups. Serum levels of sBAFF and sAPRIL were increased in Sjögren's syndrome compared to healthy blood donors, especially in anti-Ro/La+ patients. Though the differences could not be related to germinal center formation, positive correlations between serum levels of sBAFF and sAPRIL, focus score and IgG denotes their possible role in the disease progression of primary Sjögren's syndrome.