Advanced imaging for quantification of abnormalities in the salivary glands of patients with primary Sjögren's Syndrome

Pilar Jimenez-royo, Michele Bombardieri, Coziana Ciurtin, Michalis Kostapanos, Anwar R. Tappuni, Natasha Jordan, Azeem Saleem, Teresa Fuller, Kathleen Port, Elena Pontarini, Davide Lucchesi, Robert L. Janiczek, Paul Galette, Graham E. Searle, Neel Patel, Lucy Kershaw, Calum Gray, Nirav Ratia, André van Maurik, Marius de GrootNicolas Wisniacki, Mats Bergstrom, Ruth Tarzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To assess non-invasive imaging for detection and quantification of gland structure, inflammation and function in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS) using PET-CT with 11C-Methionine (11C-MET; radiolabelled amino acid), and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG; glucose uptake marker), to assess protein synthesis and inflammation, respectively; multiparametric MRI evaluated salivary gland structural and physiological changes.

In this imaging/clinical/histology comparative study (GSK study 203818; NCT02899377) patients with pSS and age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers underwent MRI of the salivary glands and 11C-MET PET-CT. Patients also underwent 18F-FDG PET-CT and labial salivary gland biopsies. Clinical and biomarker assessments were performed. Primary endpoints were semi-quantitative parameters of 11C-MET and 18F-FDG uptake in submandibular and parotid salivary glands and quantitative MRI measures of structure and inflammation. Clinical and minor salivary gland histological parameter correlations were explored.

Twelve patients with pSS and 13 healthy volunteers were included. Lower 11C-MET uptake in parotid, submandibular and lacrimal glands, lower submandibular gland volume, higher MRI fat fraction, and lower pure diffusion in parotid and submandibular glands were observed in patients vs healthy volunteer, consistent with reduced synthetic function. Disease duration correlated positively with fat fraction and negatively with 11C-MET and 18F-FDG uptake, consistent with impaired function, inflammation and fatty replacement over time. Lacrimal gland 11C-MET uptake positively correlated with tear flow in patients, and parotid gland 18F-FDG uptake positively correlated with salivary gland CD20+ B-cell infiltration.

Molecular imaging and MRI may be useful tools to non-invasively assess loss of glandular function, increased glandular inflammation and fat accumulation in pSS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2396–2408
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Early online date21 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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