MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y overexpression is associated with inflammation in Sjögren's syndrome

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OBJECTIVES:To evaluate the expression and localization of MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y isoforms in labial salivary glands (LSG) from Sjögren's syndrome patients (SS patients), as well as theirin vitroexpression induced by cytokines.SUBJECTS AND METHODS:Labial salivary gland from 27 primary SS patients and 22 non-SS sicca subjects were studied. Relative MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y mRNA levels were determined by qPCR and protein levels by Western blotting. Induction of mucin mRNAs was assayedin vitro. Immunohistochemistry was used for localization.RESULTS:Relative MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y mRNA and protein levels were significantly higher in LSG from SS patients. These mRNAs were induced by cytokines. MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y were detected in acini apical region of control LSGs, and significant cytoplasmic accumulation was observed in acini of SS patients. MUC1/Y localized in acinar nuclei and cytoplasm of inflammatory cells of LSG from SS patients. A strong positive correlation was observed between cellular MUC1/SEC levels and glandular function determined by scintigraphy.CONCLUSIONS:We show for the first time that MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y are expressed in LSG of both SS patients and non-SS sicca subjects. The observed overexpression and aberrant localization of MUC1/SEC and MUC1/Y and their induction by pro-inflammatory cytokines may favor the perpetuation of the inflammatory environment that disrupts the salivary glandular homeostasis in SS patients.

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