IgG4-related disease is a systemic disorder with unique clinicopathological features and uncertain etiological features and is frequently related to allergic disease. T helper 2 and regulatory T-cell cytokines have been reported to be upregulated in the affected tissues; thus, the production of these cytokines by T helper 2 and regulatory T cells has been suggested as an important factor in the pathogenesis of IgG4-related disease. However, it is not yet clear which cells produce these cytokines in IgG4-related disease, and some aspects of the disorder cannot be completely explained by T-cell-related processes. To address this, we analyzed paraffin-embedded sections of tissues from nine cases of IgG4-related submandibular gland disease, five cases of submandibular sialolithiasis, and six cases of normal submandibular gland in order to identify potential key players in the pathogenesis of IgG4-related disease. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed the significant upregulation of interleukin (IL)4, IL10, and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) in IgG4-related disease. Interestingly, immunohistochemical studies indicated the presence of mast cells expressing these cytokines in diseased tissues. In addition, dual immunofluorescence assays identified cells that were double-positive for each cytokine and for KIT, which is expressed by mast cells. In contrast, the distribution of T cells did not correlate with cytokine distribution in affected tissues. We also found that the mast cells were strongly positive for IgE. This observation supports the hypothesis that mast cells are involved in IgG4-related disease, as mast cells are known to be closely related to allergic reactions and are activated in the presence of elevated non-specific IgE levels. In conclusion, our results indicate that mast cells produce T helper 2 and regulatory T-cell cytokines in tissues affected by IgG4-related disease and possibly have an important role in disease pathogenesis.
- IgG4-related disease
- mast cells
- regulatory T cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine