A postmortem study of focal adenitis in salivary and lacrimal glands

J Autoimmun. 1989 Aug;2(4):553-8. doi: 10.1016/0896-8411(89)90188-1.


Investigations were carried out on 102 consecutive medicolegal post-mortem subjects to identify signs of focal adenitis in labial, submandibular, and lacrimal glands. There were 19 subjects (18.6%) with focus scores exceeding 1 in one or two of the types of glands. Among the 19, five had had a disease which is generally associated with Sjögren's syndrome or is autoimmune in nature. In another 63 subjects occasional lymphocytic foci were found in one, two, or all three types of gland. Fibrosis, atrophy, and fatty change had occurred most often in the labial salivary glands in those over 50 years of age with or without high focus scores. Fibrosis, atrophy, and fat infiltration had hardly ever occurred in the lacrimal glands, although this is the type of gland in which high focus scores occur most often. The results suggest that there may be a common autoimmune basis for Sjögren's syndrome and other diseases, the mechanisms of which are still incompletely understood. A focus score exceeding 1 may be an indicator of Sjögren's syndrome, but the diagnosis should not be established on the biopsy findings alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dacryocystitis / epidemiology
  • Dacryocystitis / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / pathology*
  • Salivary Glands / pathology*
  • Salivary Glands, Minor / pathology*
  • Sialadenitis / epidemiology
  • Sialadenitis / pathology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Submandibular Gland / pathology*