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J Dent Res. 2013 May;92(5):444-9. doi: 10.1177/0022034513483315. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Type I interferon receptor deficiency prevents murine Sjogren's syndrome.

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Division of Nephrology, Center for Immunity Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


In Sjögren's Syndrome (SS), inherent glandular defects, autoimmunity, and mononuclear cell infiltration within the salivary glands cause reduced salivation leading to xerostomia. Excessive production of type I interferons (IFN), triggered by environmental and genetic factors, is considered pathogenic in this disorder. However, whether type I IFN production is causative or an outcome of the disease process is not known. To address this question, we introduced a deficiency of interferon alpha receptor 1 (Ifnar1) into B6.Aec1Aec2 mice, which are known to have the genetic loci necessary for developing a SS-like disorder. This new mouse strain, B6.Aec1Aec2Ifnar1 (-/-), lacking type I IFN-mediated signaling, was characterized for pilocarpine-induced salivation, the presence of serum autoantibodies, sialoadenitis, and dacryoadenitis. Compared with the B6.Aec1Aec2Ifnar1 (+/+) (wild-type) mice, the B6.Aec1Aec2Ifnar1 (-/-) (knockout) mice had significantly lower mononuclear cell infiltration in the salivary and lacrimal glands. The knockout mice were completely protected from salivary gland dysfunction. Surprisingly, they had a robust autoantibody response comparable with that of the wild-type mice. These findings demonstrate that, in the absence of type I IFN-mediated signaling, systemic autoantibody responses can be dissociated from glandular pathology. Our study suggests that, in genetically susceptible individuals, the type I IFN pathway can instigate certain features of SS.

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