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Increased Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Levels at the Onset of Sjögren's Syndrome in SATB1-Conditional Knockout Mice.

Abstract

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by dysfunction of salivary and lacrimal glands, resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth) and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes). Autoantibodies, such as anti-SSA and anti-SSB antibodies, are hallmarks and important diagnostic factors for SS. In our previous study, we demonstrated that SS-like xerostomia was observed in SATB1 conditional knockout (SATB1cKO) mice, in which the floxed SATB1 gene was specifically deleted in hematopoietic cells as early as 4 weeks of age. In these mice, autoantibodies were not detected until 8 weeks of age in SATB1cKO mice, although exocrine gland function reached its lowest at this age. Therefore, other markers may be necessary for the diagnosis of SS in the early phase. Here, we found that mRNA expression of the interferonγ (IFN-γ) gene and the IFN-responsive indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) gene is upregulated in the salivary glands of SATB1cKO mice after 3 and 4 weeks of age, respectively. We detected l-kynurenine (l-KYN), an intermediate of l-tryptophan (l-Trp) metabolism mediated by IDO, in the serum of SATB1cKO mice after 4 weeks of age. In addition, the upregulation of IDO expression was significantly suppressed by the administration of IFN-γ neutralizing antibodies in SATB1cKO mice. These results suggest that the induction of IFN-dependent IDO expression is an initial event that occurs immediately after the onset of SS in SATB1cKO mice. These results also imply that serum l-KYN could be used as a marker for SS diagnosis in the early phases of the disease before autoantibodies are detectable.

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