Objective: Patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) show aberrant expression of the B cell-related mediators, B cell-activating factor (BAFF), and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) in serum and salivary glands (SGs). We studied the biological effect of neutralizing these cytokines by local gene transfer of the common receptor transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) in an animal model of SS.
Material and methods: A recombinant serotype 2 adeno-associated virus (rAAV2) encoding TACI-Fc was constructed, and its efficacy was tested in the SGs of non-obese diabetic mice. Ten weeks later, SG inflammation was evaluated and serum and SG tissue were analyzed for inflammatory markers including immunoglobulins (Ig) and cytokines.
Results: AAV2-TACI-Fc gene therapy significantly reduced the number of inflammatory foci in the SG, owing to a decrease in IgD(+) cells and CD138(+) cells. Moreover, IgG and IgM levels, but not IgA levels, were reduced in the SG. Overall expression of mainly proinflammatory cytokines tended to be lower in AAV2-TACI-Fc-treated mice. Salivary flow was unaffected.
Conclusion: Although local expression of soluble TACI-Fc reduced inflammation and immunoglobulin levels in the SG, further research will have to prove whether dual blockade of APRIL and BAFF by TACI-Fc can provide a satisfying treatment for the clinical symptoms of patients.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.