Expression of toll-like receptor -7 and -9 in B cell subsets from patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome
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Introduction: Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is a rheumatic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of exocrine glands. As autoantibodies are present in a majority of patients, B cells have been suggested to play an important role in onset and development of the disease. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern recognition receptors triggering innate immune responses. Since an increased expression of TLRs has been detected in other rheumatic diseases the purpose of this study was to explore TLRs in B cells of SS patients.
Methods: The expression of TLR-7 and -9 in B cell subsets of 25 patients with primary SS (pSS) and 25 healthy controls was analysed in peripheral blood using flow cytometry and real time quantitative PCR.
Results: We detected similar levels of CD19+ B cells in pSS patients and healthy controls. An increased number of naïve B cells, as well as fewer pre-switched memory B cells were found in pSS patients. No significant differences were observed in TLR-7 and -9 expression in B cells between pSS patients and healthy controls.
Conclusion: This study shows that pSS patients have an alteration in the B cell subpopulation composition compared to controls, with less pre-switched memory B cells and more naïve B cells. We did not detect any significant disparities in TLR-7 and -9 expression between the two groups.