The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Anne Isine Bolstad

Sjögren´s syndrome elucidated by genetic and gene expression studies

Anne Isine Bolstad
Department of Oral Sciences - Periodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, and Broegelmann Research Laboratory, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen

Sjögren´s syndrome is a complex inflammatory rheumatic disease that has been classified into primary and secondary forms, with cardinal features in the eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and mouth (xerostomia). The most serious complication is lymphoma which develops in about 5% of the patients. The etiology behind this autoimmune exocrinopathy is still not clear, but a multifactorial causality is suspected. A genetic predisposition to Sjögren´s syndrome has been suggested on the basis of familial aggregation and studies in animal models.

An understanding of the gene expression profile specific to primary Sjögren`s syndrome is likely to provide a framework for a more selective investigation of the classification and immunological mechanisms of the disease and in order to identify therapeutic targets. We have identified gene expression signatures of minor salivary glands of primary Sjögren`s syndrome patients by microarrays. A distinct difference in expression levels was found, enabling a simple class prediction scheme to correctly classify 19 of the 20 samples as either patient or control, based on the top 5 differentially expressed genes. Previous research on murine models has linked sialadenitis severity to regions on chromosome 1 and 4 (loci Idd5 and NssI, respectively). Congenic/double congenic mice carrying the Idd5 and/or NssI loci have been developed, and we are now studying the effect of these loci on salivary gland gene expression by microarrays. Results from candidate gene analyses of patients with Sjögren´s syndrome will also be discussed.

Anne Isine Bolstad has a PhD degree (1994) from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UoB, where she worked on the porin monomer FomA of the oral gram negative bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum. After two years as an Assoc. Professor at the Faculty of Dentistry, she joined the research group on Sjögren´s syndrome at the Broegelmann Research Laboratory, UoB (http://www.uib.no/Broegelmann/index.html). From 1996-2002 she worked as a researcher (one year as "Konstituert senterleder") at the Center for Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, in close collaboration with the Broegelmann Research Laboratory. She is at present Professor at the Department of Oral Sciences - Periodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, UoB.

Research interests:
· Pathogenesis of periodontal diseases (Immunological, microbiological and genetic aspects)
· Pathogenesis of Sjögren´s syndrome (Immunological and genetic aspects)