Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is characterized by a focal periductal salivary gland infiltrate consisting mainly of T and B lymphocytes. Most of the T cells bear the memory of CD4+ Th-1-like phenotype and express high levels of class II, though CD8+ cells are also present. We have studied 17 labial salivary gland and 15 peripheral blood T cell clones from a patient with primary SS. The tissue clones were 71% CD8+ and 29% CD4+, and the peripheral blood-derived clones were 60% CD8+ and 40% CD4+. The CD4+ T cell clones from both the salivary gland and autologous peripheral blood were of the Th1 phenotype, in that they produced interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and IL-2 but very little IL-4 after 24 h stimulation with phorbol myristate acetate and anti-CD3 antibody. The salivary gland-derived CD4+ clones produced 15 times more IL-10 (7.92 ng/ml) than peripheral blood-derived CD4+ clones (0.52 ng/ml, P≤0.02). The tissue CD8+ clones produced 1.2 times (P<0.04) more IFN-γ and CD4+ clones produced 3.5 times less IL-2 (P<0.02) than the respective PBM-derived clones. The accumulation of Th1-type cells producing high levels of IL-10 in the salivary gland suggests a specific immunoregulatory function at the site of inflammation in SS.