Sjogren's syndrome (SjS) is an autoimmune disease characterized primarily by exocrine gland dysfunction, specifically, the salivary and lacrimal glands. It can be systemic by affecting other organs including the Gl tract, skin, lungs, vasculature, kidneys, bladder and vagina. Involvement of the musculature can lead to flbromyalgla-llke symptoms and chronic fatigue. Approximately 20% of patients develop various neuropathies, including sensory, peripheral, cranial and myelopathic neuropathies exhibited by cognitive impairments such as dementia, lack of concentration, memory loss and various psychiatric disorders. As with many autoimmune connective tissue diseases, there exists a sexual dimorphism in SjS with women affected 10- to 20-times more frequently than men, suggesting a role for sex hormones in disease susceptibility or progression. A unique feature of SjS in both humans and animal models Is the formation of lymphocytic focus (LF) in the salivary and lacrimal glands. Although one of the more predominant cell populations infiltrating the glands is the pathogenic THI 7 cells that produce IL-17 and IL-22 cytokines, little is known about frequencies of infiltrating cells secreting these cytokines and the genetic profiles of their individual T cell receptors. Using a novel technology called microengraving designed for single cell analysis, this study aims to provide a proof of concept in examining individual TH17 cells that produce IL-22. To achieve this goal, two specific aims will be carried out: 1) characterizing individual IL-22-secretlng cells infiltrating the labial salivary glands (LSG) of SjS patients, and 2) identifying the T cell receptor (TCR)-P gene rearrangement of Individual IL-22 secreting cells in LSG of SjS patients. Results of the proposed study, therefore, will establish proof of concept for identification and characterization of individual T cells with their corresponding TCR-0 gene rearrangement and secreted products.
This proof of concept study will provide a solid foundation for future applications in examining other Individual cell populations in the glands, especially B cells and natural killer cells in this disease. This study will reveal a better understanding of the biological and immunological interaction of each individual infiltrating cell. Results are expected to provide possible therapeutic approaches to the treatment of the disease.
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