Osteopontin (Opn) is a cytokine involved in both physiological and pathological processes, and is elevated in many autoimmune diseases. Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disease with a strong female predilection characterized by lymphocytic infiltration of exocrine glands. We hypothesized that Opn contributes to SS pathogenesis. We examined an established SS model and found increased Opn locally and systemically. Next, we examined Opn transgenic (Opn Tg) mice for evidence of SS. Opn Tg animals exhibited lymphocytic infiltration of salivary and lacrimal glands, and Opn co-localized with the infiltrates. Moreover, saliva production was reduced, and SS autoantibodies were observed in the serum of these mice. Finally, female Opn Tg mice showed more severe disease compared to males. Taken together, these data support a role for Opn in SS pathogenesis. We identify a new model of spontaneous SS that recapitulates the human disease in terms of sex predilection, histopathology, salivary deficits, and autoantibodies.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.