The etiology of primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) remains unknown, and there is no complete curative drug. In this study, we treated a mouse model of the submandibular gland (SG) protein-immunized experimental Sjögren’s syndrome (ESS) with paeoniflorin-6′-O-benzene sulfonate (termed CP-25) to evaluate the potential therapeutic effects of CP-25. Through in vivo experiments, we found that CP-25 increased saliva flow, alleviated the salivary gland indexes, and improved tissue integrity in the ESS model. The viability of splenocytes and B-lymphocyte migration from spleen were reduced in ESS mice. Furthermore, CP-25 decreased the expression of IgG antibodies, anti-SSA and anti-SSB antibodies and modulated the levels of cytokines in the serum of SS mice. The numbers of total B lymphocytes, plasma cells (PCs), and memory B cells diminished in the salivary gland. Increased expression of the JAK1-STAT1-CXCL13 axis and IFNα was found in human tissue isolated from pSS patients. In vitro, after stimulation with IFNα, the levels of CXCL13 mRNA and CXCL13 in human salivary gland epithelial cells (HSGEC) increased, while CP-25 counteracted the secretion of CXCL13 and downregulated the expression of CXCL13. IFN-α activated the JAK1-STAT1/2-CXCL13 signaling pathway in HSGEC, which was negatively regulated by additional CP-25. As a consequence, B-cell migration was downregulated in coculture with IFN-α-stimulated HSGEC. Taken together, this study demonstrated that the therapeutic effects of CP-25 were associated with the inhibition of the JAK1-STAT1/2-CXCL13 signaling pathway in HSGEC, which impedes the migration of B cells into the salivary gland. We identified the underlying mechanisms of the therapeutic effect of CP-25 and provided an experimental foundation for CP-25 as a potential drug in the treatment of the human autoimmune disorder pSS.
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This study was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos 81673444 and 81302784), Provincial Natural Science Research Project of Anhui Province (Nos KJ2017A182 and KJ2018A0166), and Key Projects of Anhui Province University Outstanding Youth Talent Fund (gxyqZD2018023).
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Wu, H., Chen, X., Gu, F. et al. CP-25 alleviates antigen-induced experimental Sjögren’s syndrome in mice by inhibiting JAK1-STAT1/2-CXCL13 signaling and interfering with B-cell migration. Lab Invest 101, 1084–1097 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41374-020-0453-0