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Invariant NKT cells are expanded in peripheral blood but are undetectable in salivary glands of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome.

  • Autori: Guggino G; Ciccia F; Raimondo S; Giardina G; Alessandro R; Dieli F; Sireci G; Triolo G
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


OBJECTIVES: Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells play a role in regulating the function of autoreactive B cells before their entry into germinal centres. Absence and/or reduction of iNKT cells have been demonstrated in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) together with an increase of autoreactive B cell activity. Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) is a systemic autoimmune disease in which lymphocyte infiltration and organisation in lymphoid structures of inflamed salivary glands occurs. The aim of the study was to investigate the percentage and function of iNKT in the salivary glands and peripheral blood of patients with pSS. METHODS: Minor salivary gland biopsies were obtained from patients with pSS and with non-specific chronic sialoadenitis (nSS). Flow cytometry analysis of CD1d/α-GalactosylCeramide (α-GalCer) tetramer positive cells, producing IFN-γ and IL-17, and quantitative gene expression analysis by TaqMan real-time PCR for Vα24 were performed on salivary glands biopsies and peripheral blood samples obtained from patients and controls. Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence analysis for autoreactive B lymphocytes and ELISA for anti-SSA antibodies (Ab) detection were also performed. RESULTS: An increase of iNKT was detected ex vivo in peripheral blood of pSS patients; after α-GalCer stimulation this subset produce IL-17 and IFN-iNKT were undetectable in the salivary glands of pSS patients and anti-SSA specific B cells were found in target tissue. Invariant NKT cells were able to inhibit autoantibody production by B cells obtained from salivary glands of pSS. CONCLUSIONS: Impaired iNKT migration to inflamed sites might induce the activation of autoreactive B cells specific for SSA-antigen in salivary glands of pSS patients.