OBJECTIVE--To compare the distribution and the amount of transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) in labial salivary glands (LSG) in patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and healthy controls. METHODS--LSG from SS patients (n = 10) and healthy controls (n = 6) were labelled with peroxidase-antiperoxidase staining for TGF beta 2, which was quantitated in image analysis using Video Interactive Display System software. RESULTS--In all LSGs in SS and healthy controls, TGF beta 2 was found in endothelial cells of the capillaries and in the capsular and stromal fibroblasts. In LSGs in SS, TGF beta 2 was also found in some lymphocytes in the inflammatory cell foci and in fibroblasts in fibrotic areas. The TGF beta 2 staining index (microns 2/mm2 tissue) was greater in SS than in control LSGs (3670 (SEM 430) v 2061 (176); p < 0.01), with no difference between the primary and secondary forms of SS (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION--The localisation and the level of expression of TGF beta 2 indicate its involvement in local tissue fibrosis, and may reflect attempts at immunosuppression.
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