Sjögren's Syndrome

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sjögren's syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disorder in which immune cells attack and destroy the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva. This disorder causes dryness in your mouth and eyes. It can also lead to dryness in other places that need moisture, such as your nose, throat and skin. Most people who get Sjogren's syndrome are older than 40. Nine of 10 are women. When Sjögren's syndrome occurs alone, not associated with other disease, it is called Primary Sjögren's syndrome. When it develops years after the onset of an associated rheumatic disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and primary biliary cirrhosis, it is called Secondary Sjögren's syndrome.

Sjögren's syndrome is associated with increased levels of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in cerebrospinal fluid, an interleukin 1 antagonist, suggesting that there was first increased activity in the interleukin 1 system, then an auto-regulatory up-regulation of IL-RA in attempts to reduce the successful binding of Interleukin 1 to its receptors. It is likely that Interleukin 1 is the marker for fatigue, however IL-1RA increases are observed in the CSF and is associated with increased fatigue through cytokine induced sickness behavio. The interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IL1RN gene.

Diagnosing Sjögren's syndrome is complicated by the range of symptoms a patient may manifest, and the similarity between symptoms from Sjögren's syndrome and those caused by other conditions. Nevertheless, the combination of several tests can lead to a diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome. Blood tests can be done to determine if a patient has high levels of antibodies that are indicative of the condition, such as anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) and rheumatoid factor, since Sjögren's syndrome frequently occurs secondary to rheumatoid arthritis, which are associated with autoimmune diseases.

The symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome include dry eyes, dry mounth, nose and vaginal dryness, dry skin, peeling lips, burning throat, joint pain, fatigue, etc.