Presence of intraepithelial B-lymphocytes is associated with the formation of lymphoepithelial lesions in salivary glands of primary Sjogren's syndrome patients

van Ginkel, M. S., Hawcke, E. A., Bootsma, H., Arends, S., van Nimwegen, J. F., Verstappen, G. M., Spijkervet, F. K. L., Vissink, A., van der Vegt, B. & Kroese, F. G. M., 2019, In : Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. 37, 3, p. S42-S48 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Objectives. Lymphoepithelial lesions (LELs) in salivary glands are associated with primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS). LELs are composed of hyperplastic epithelium infiltrated with lymphocytes. The objective of this study was obtaining insight in the relative roles of intraepithelial B- and T-lymphocytes in the formation of LELs in salivary glands of pSS patients.

Methods. Parotid and labial salivary gland biopsies of pSS patients (n=15), non-SS sicca patients (n=5) and non-sicca controls (n=5) were analysed. Serial sections were stained with H&E and for cytokeratin, CD20 and CD3. Striated ducts with lymphocytes, but without hyperplasia, and striated ducts with LELs were identified in H&E and cytokeratin stained sections. LELs were classified in successive stages of severity based on the amount of hyperplasia (stage1-3). Numbers of B- and T-lymphocytes within striated ducts and LELs were counted in CD20 and CD3 stained sections.

Results. Lymphocyte-containing striated ducts of both salivary glands of all pSS and control patients harboured T-lymphocytes, scattered throughout the ductal epithelium. In contrast, B-lymphocytes were exclusively found in a small fraction (21%) of striated ducts without hyperplasia and in nearly all striated ducts with LELs of pSS patients, but not in controls. In striated ducts with LELs B-lymphocytes were mostly located in the areas of proliferating epithelium. Numbers of B-lymphocytes and B/T-ratios increased significantly with higher severity of LELs. This was even more pronounced in the parotid than in the labial gland.

Conclusions. We conclude there is an association between presence of intraepithelial B-lymphocytes and the formation of LELs in salivary glands of pSS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S42-S48
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Sjogren's syndrome, lymphoepithelial lesions, histopathology, parotid gland, labial gland, HISTOPATHOLOGY

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