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Sjögren Syndrome

Sjögren Syndrome is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by lymphocytic infiltrates in exocrine organs
  • Typically presents with diminished salivary and lacrimal gland function, resulting in sicca symptoms such as dry eyes (xerophthalmia), dry mouth (xerostomia), and parotid enlargement
  • Extraglandular manifestations: arthralgia, myalgia, Raynaud phenomenon, pulmonary disease, GI disease, leukopenia, anemia, lymphadenopathy, vasculitis, renal tubular acidosis, lymphoma, CNS involvement with longitudinal transverse myelitis (>4 vertebral segments), and optic neuritis associated with anti–aquaporin-4 antibodies, PNS involvement with small fiber neuropathy
  • Primary Sjögren: not associated with other diseases; HLA-DRB1*0301 and HLA-DRB1*1501 are the most common.
  • Secondary Sjögren: complication of other rheumatologic conditions, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis; associated with HLA-DR4
  • First described by Swedish ophthalmologist Henrik Sjögren (1899 to 1986)



Annual incidence: ~4/100,000. Primary Sjögren syndrome (SS) is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 1–4% of population.

  • All races are affected.
  • Predominant sex: female > male (9:1)
  • Predominant age: can affect patients of any age but is most common in the elderly; onset typically in the 4th to 5th decades of life

SS affects 1 to 4 million people in the United States.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Multifactorial systemic autoimmune process characterized by infiltration of glandular tissue by CD4 T lymphocytes
  • Theorized that glandular epithelial cells present antigen to the T cells inducing cytokine production. There is also evidence for B-cell activation, resulting in autoantibody production and an increased incidence of B-cell malignancies.
  • Etiology is unknown. Estrogen may play a role because SS is more common in women. Exogenous factors such as viral proteins (EBV, HCV, HTLV-1) have also been implicated.

  • A familial tendency suggests a genetic predisposition.
  • Associations in the HLA regions HLA-DQA1*0501, HLA-DQB1*0201, and HLA-DRB*0301 are the strongest genetic risk factors for SS.

Risk Factors

There are no known modifiable risk factors.

General Prevention

  • No known prevention. Complications can be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment.
  • Oral health providers play a key role in early detection and management of salivary dysfunction (1)[C].

Commonly Associated Conditions

Secondary SS associated with rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), polymyositis, HIV, hepatitis C, MCTD, PBC, hypergammaglobulinemic purpura, necrotizing vasculitis, autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic active hepatitis, mixed cryoglobulinemia

Pregnancy Considerations
Pregnant SS patients with anti-SSA Abs have increased risk of delivering fetus with skin rash and 3rd-degree heart block.

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Sjögren Syndrome." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816410/all/Sjögren_Syndrome.
Sjögren Syndrome. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816410/all/Sjögren_Syndrome. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Sjögren Syndrome. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816410/all/Sjögren_Syndrome
Sjögren Syndrome [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816410/all/Sjögren_Syndrome.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Sjögren Syndrome ID - 816410 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/816410/all/Sjögren_Syndrome PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -