Neurological involvement in primary Sjögren's syndrome: clinical and instrumental evaluation in a cohort of Italian patients

Clin Rheumatol. 1999;18(4):299-303. doi: 10.1007/s100670050105.


To evaluate nervous system involvement in a cohort of Italian patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), 87 unselected patients (83 female, and four male) observed consecutively at our institution over a period of 5 years were screened by clinical and instrumental (MRI, SPECT, electrophysiological testing, CSF analysis) investigations for peripheral and central neurological abnormalities. Seroimmunological parameters and extraglandular features other than neurological manifestations were also evaluated. Seven patients had central nervous system (CNS) disease (8%), mostly non-focal dysfunction, and 12 had peripheral nervous system (PNS) disease (13.8%), mostly mild or severe sensory or sensory-motor polyneuropathies. One patient had concomitant CNS and PNS involvement. Compared with CNS disease, PNS involvement occurred in older patients (> 50 years), independent of the disease duration. Patients with and without neurological abnormalities did not differ for seroimmunological parameters (including antiphospholipid antibodies) or extraglandular manifestations. From a statistical point of view, the only relevant finding was the detection of a slight increase in serum IgA and IgM levels (p < 0.05) in patients with an intact nervous system. Neurological involvement in pSS, be it central or peripheral, is not a rare finding. A careful clinical neurological evaluation, combined with a multiplicity of instrumental investigations, is recommended in the global assessment of pSS patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Complement System Proteins / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Complement System Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein