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Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disease characterised by lymphocytic infiltration into the lachrymal and salivary glands, leading to dry eyes and mouth. Infiltration is also found in the kidneys, lungs, thyroid, and liver. Immunohistochemical studies have shown that most infiltrating lymphocytes around the labial salivary and lachrymal glands, and kidneys are CD4 positive αβ T cells. Previous studies with polymerase chain reaction provide evidence about the T cell receptor Vβ and Vα genes on these T cells, and sequence analysis of the CDR3 region indicates some conserved amino acid motifs, supporting the notion that infiltrating T cells recognise relatively few epitopes on autoantigens.1
Candidate autoantigens recognised by T cells infiltrating the labial salivary glands of patients with SS have been analysed, and Ro/SSA 52 kDa, α-amylase, heat shock protein, and T cell receptor BV62 have been identified. However, there is no direct evidence that these reactive T cells really attack and destroy the salivary glands. In contrast, the presence of autoantibodies (Abs) against M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M3R) has been reported, and it is suggested that an immune reaction to M3R plays a crucial …