Parotid salivary sodium levels of Sjögren's syndrome patients suggest B-cell mediated epithelial sodium channel disruption

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Patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) suffer widely from lack of saliva production. Here we investigate potential mechanisms underpinning changes in SS patient saliva composition. Sodium concentration was significantly higher in all saliva samples collected: unstimulated submandibular/sublingual (SmSl) saliva (p<0.0001), stimulated SmSl saliva (p=0.002) and stimulated parotid (PG) (p<0.0001) saliva, compared to non-SS sicca controls. Chloride, phosphate and potassium ion concentrations, α-amylase activity and total protein content correlations were less consistently changed between SS and non-SS saliva types. Stimulated PG salivary sodium levels correlated with the degree of CD45+ lymphocytic cell infiltrate in the parotid glands (r=0.69, p<0.001), and even more strongly so with infiltrating CD20+ B cells (r=0.73, p<0.0001). CD3+ T cells were only moderately correlated with salivary sodium (r=0.23, p=0.015). In non-SS control or focus score (FS) negative SS PG tissue, the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), responsible for sodium transport out of saliva, was localised to the apical membrane of luminal striated duct cells. In PG tissue from FS+ SS patients, apical ENaC expression appeared absent. We hypothesise that B cell-related proinflammatory cytokines in SS salivary glands may dysregulate sodium transport channels in SS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S30-S38
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number6, Suppl.133
Early online date14-Oct-2021
Publication statusPublished - 15-Dec-2021


  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • saliva
  • sodium
  • B cells
  • epithelia sodium channel
  • ENAC
  • FLOW

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