Background Labial salivary glands (LSG) of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) patients show alterations indicative of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, such as ER cistern dilatation (1) and mucin accumulation (2). Pro-inflammatory cytokines induce ER stress, but it is not well known if the ER stress is an initial event in the onset of a chronic disease or if is secondary to the inflammation. ER stress triggers a complementary adaptive mechanism known as the “Unfolded Protein Response” (UPR) that seeks to restore ER homeostasis. IRE1α/XBP-1 signaling pathway is a UPR branch involved in secretory process regulation. Therefore, glandular dysfunction in SS-patients may be, at least in part, attributable to an altered signaling via the IRE1α/XBP-1s pathway.
Objectives To determine the expression and localization of IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components, their expression In vitro induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as their relationship to clinical parameters of SS-patients.
Methods LSG of 19 SS-Patients and 21 controls were studied. Proteins localization was analyzed by immunofluorescence and mRNA and protein levels by qPCR and Western-blot. To evaluate the effect of pro-inflammatory cytokines on expression of IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components, human submandibular gland (HSG) cells were stimulated with TNF-α or IFN-γ and mRNA levels were determined by qPCR.
Results XBP-1 showed nuclear and cytoplasmic staining in acinar cells of LSG of SS-patients and controls, but mRNA and protein levels were significant decreased in LSG of SS-patients. Cytoplasmic GRP78 staining as well as their mRNA and protein levels decreased in acinar cells of SS-patients. PDIA3 staining was higher in nuclei and cytoplasm of acinar cells in SS-patients, coincident with increased mRNA and protein levels. Plasma cells but not lymphocytes showed strong staining for XBP-1, GRP78 and PDIA3. TNF-α increased and IFN-γ decreased mRNA levels of XBP-1s, IRE1α and GRP78, while PDIA3 mRNA levels increased with both cytokines. IRE1α levels correlated positively with salivary flow. XBP-1s levels correlated inversely with Ro. PDIA3 levels correlated positively with the presence of auto-antibodies and glandular dysfunction assayed by scintigraphy.
Conclusions Considering the important role of IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway in the secretory process control, the altered expression and localization of IRE1α/XBP-1 pathway components may contribute to the observed changes in the physiology of LSG in SS-patients. In these glands, the expression of these components might be modulated by the inflammatory environment.
Goicovich E, Molina C, Pérez P, Aguilera S, Fernández J, Olea N, Alliende C, Leyton C, Romo R, Leyton L, González MJ. Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Sep;48(9):2573-84.
Verόnica Bahamondes, Amelina Albornoz, Sergio Aguilera, Cecilia Alliende, Claudio Molina, Isabel Castro, Ulises Urzúa, Andrew F.G. Quest, María-José Barrera, Sergio González, Marianela Sánchez, Steffen Härtel, Marcela Hermoso, Cecilia Leyton and María-Julieta González. Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Oct;63(10):3126-35.
Acknowledgements Fondecyt 1120062 (MJG, SA, CM, SG) and PhD fellowship Conicyt-Chile (DS MJB, JC).
Disclosure of Interest None declared