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Arthritis Rheum. 1999 Feb;42(2):229-39.

Expression of B7 costimulatory molecules by salivary gland epithelial cells in patients with Sjögren's syndrome.

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1
School of Medicine, National University of Athens, Greece.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the expression of B7 costimulatory molecules in the lymphoepithelial lesions of salivary gland (SG) biopsy tissues and in SG epithelial cell lines derived from patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS).

METHODS:

B7.1 and B7.2 protein expression was studied by immunohistochemistry in minor SGs obtained from 11 patients with SS and 10 disease control patients with nonspecific sialadenitis and in cultured SG epithelial cell lines obtained from minor SGs from 15 SS patients and 15 control patients. B7.1 and B7.2 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression by SG epithelial cell lines was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

RESULTS:

In biopsy tissues from SS patients, but not control patients, ductal and acinar epithelial cells showed increased expression of both B7.1 and B7.2. Intense spontaneous B7.1 protein expression (as well as HLA-ABC, but not B7.2 or HLA-DR) was also found in 73% of SG epithelial cell lines from SS patients versus 13% of those from control patients (P < 0.01). Interferon-y treatment induced, or up-regulated, B7.1, B7.2, and HLA-DR expression in all SG epithelial cell lines tested. B7.1 and B7.2 expression by SG epithelial cell lines was also verified at the mRNA level by RT-PCR.

CONCLUSION:

Human SG epithelia are intrinsically capable of expressing B7 proteins upon activation. In SS patients, the expression of B7 molecules by SG epithelial tissues and by SG epithelial cell lines indicates the activated status of SG epithelial cells in this disorder and, possibly, their capacity for presenting antigens to T cells.

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