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Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) is a chronic autoimmune disease, with only palliative treatments available. Recent work has suggested that increased bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6) expression could alter cell signaling in the salivary gland (SG) and result in the associated salivary hypofunction. We examined the prevalence of elevated BMP6 expression in a large cohort of pSS patients and tested the therapeutic efficacy of BMP signaling inhibitors in two pSS animal models. Increased BMP6 expression was found in the SGs of 54% of pSS patients, and this increased expression was correlated with low unstimulated whole saliva flow rate. In mouse models of SS, inhibition of BMP6 signaling reduced phosphorylation of SMAD1/5/8 in the mouse submandibular glands, and led to a recovery of SG function and a decrease in inflammatory markers in the mice. The recovery of SG function after inhibition of BMP6 signaling suggests cellular plasticity within the salivary gland and a possibility for therapeutic intervention that can reverse the loss of function in pSS.


Hongen Yin, Lovika Kalra, Zhennan Lai, Maria C Guimaro, Lauren Aber, Blake M Warner, Drew Michael, Nan Zhang, Javier Cabrera-Perez, Arif Karim, William D Swaim, Sandra Afione, Alexandria Voigt, Cuong Q Nguyen, Paul B Yu, Donald B Bloch, John A Chiorini. Inhibition of bone morphogenetic protein 6 receptors ameliorates Sjögren's syndrome in mice. Scientific reports. 2020 Feb 19;10(1):2967

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PMID: 32076051

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