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Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 28;8(38):63417-63429. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.18823. eCollection 2017 Sep 8.

Leptin/OB-R pathway promotes IL-4 secretion from B lymphocytes and induces salivary gland epithelial cell apoptosis in Sjögren's syndrome.

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Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Jiangsu, Changzhou 213003, China.


Sjögren's syndrome (SjS) is a chronic autoimmune epithelitis in which cell apoptosis promotes the formation of inflammatory lesions. We used immunohistochemistry and TUNEL to assay B cell infiltration and apoptosis in salivary gland tissue from 16-week-old NOD/LtJ mice with SjS. In co-cultures of primary salivary glandepithelial cells (SGECs) and spleen B cells, we assessed SGEC viability and apoptosis using CCK8 assays and flow cytometry. ELISAs were employed to assess cytokine levels in culture medium. Leptin protein, leptin receptor (OB-R), pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, and Jak2/Stat3/ERK signaling molecules were analyzed using western blotting. B cell infiltration and salivary gland apoptosis were increased in salivary tissue from mice with SjS. Leptin treatment had no effect on cell viability or apoptosis among B cells and primary SGECs. B cell and SGEC co-culture systems showed that leptin increased apoptosis induced by B lymphocytes, reduced SGEC cell viability, and promoted IL-4 secretion from B cells. This suggests Leptin/OB-R signaling stimulates B cells-induced SGEC apoptosis via IL-4 secretion and OB-R-Jak2-Stat3 activation.


B lymphocytes; SGECs; Sjögren’s syndrome; leptin; leptin receptor

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