Indexed on: 01 May '15Published on: 01 May '15Published in: Modern Rheumatology
The aim of this study was to clarify the molecular mechanisms elicited by toll-like receptor (TLR)3 in salivary gland cell death in patients with SS.Expression of TLR3 and its downstream molecules was examined by immunohistochemical analysis, immunofluorescence, Western blot (WB), and antibody dot-blot array in labial salivary glands (LSGs), and cultured primary salivary gland epithelial cells (SGECs) obtained from patients with SS. We also investigated the difference of expression between ducts/alveoli of LSGs and cultured SGECs.Phosphorylated Fas-associated protein with death domain (p-FADD) or caspase-8 was not found in ducts or alveoli of LSGs from SS patients and controls. Weak expression of receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) was found in SS patients, whereas no staining was observed in LSGs of controls. In contrast to LSGs, stimulation of SGECs with polyinosinic:cytidylic acid (poly I:C) significantly induced the expression of RIPK3, p-FADD, and cleaved caspase-8 by immunofluorescence and RIPK3, p-FADD, and cleaved caspase-3 by WB. However, it was counteracted by epidermal growth factor (EGF). Co-localization of anti-apoptotic molecules hemeoxygenase-2, heat shock protein 27, and p-protein kinase B or p-Akt was induced in EGF-stimulated SGECs.We observed that poly I:C induced apoptosis of SGECs in vitro compared with a relatively low prevalence of apoptosis found in the ducts and alveoli of LSGs in vivo. Thus, we speculate that other counter-regulatory mechanisms, including those induced by EGF, might exist to protect against TLR3-mediated apoptosis of ductal and acinar epithelial cells in vivo.