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J Clin Invest. 2002 Jan;109(1):59-68.

Association of BAFF/BLyS overexpression and altered B cell differentiation with Sjögren's syndrome.

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1
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Department of Arthritis and Inflammation, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

BAFF (BLyS, TALL-1, THANK, zTNF4) is a member of the TNF superfamily that specifically regulates B lymphocyte proliferation and survival. Mice transgenic (Tg) for BAFF develop an autoimmune condition similar to systemic lupus erythematosus. We now demonstrate that BAFF Tg mice, as they age, develop a secondary pathology reminiscent of Sjögren's syndrome (SS), which is manifested by severe sialadenitis, decreased saliva production, and destruction of submaxillary glands. In humans, SS also correlates with elevated levels of circulating BAFF, as well as a dramatic upregulation of BAFF expression in inflamed salivary glands. A likely explanation for disease in BAFF Tg mice is excessive survival signals to autoreactive B cells, possibly as they pass through a critical tolerance checkpoint while maturing in the spleen. The marginal zone (MZ) B cell compartment, one of the enlarged B cell subsets in the spleen of BAFF Tg mice, is a potential reservoir of autoreactive B cells. Interestingly, B cells with an MZ-like phenotype infiltrate the salivary glands of BAFF Tg mice, suggesting that cells of this compartment potentially participate in tissue damage in SS and possibly other autoimmune diseases. We conclude that altered B cell differentiation and tolerance induced by excess BAFF may be central to SS pathogenesis.

Comment in

PMID:
11781351
PMCID:
PMC150825
DOI:
10.1172/JCI14121
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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