Association of dry eyes and dry mouth with anti-Ro/SS-A and anti-La/SS-B autoantibodies in normal adults

Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Dec;35(12):1492-501. doi: 10.1002/art.1780351213.


Objective: To evaluate the extent to which seemingly healthy, mature adults with mild symptoms of dry eyes or dry mouth share the immunologic features found in patients with Sjögren's syndrome.

Methods: Of 705 subjects in Malmö, Sweden (age range 52-72 years) who responded to a questionnaire, 35% reported some symptoms of dry eyes or mouth. A random subgroup of the symptomatic subjects (n = 77) and an age- and sex-matched control group from among the asymptomatic subjects (n = 32) were evaluated objectively by serologic testing and by various measures of exocrine gland function.

Results: The symptomatic subjects had relatively impaired exocrine gland function and elevated levels of anti-Ro and anti-La (1.54-2.88-fold increase compared with the asymptomatic subjects, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.41, 4.03). The 2 autoantibodies correlated with each other (r = 0.64, 95% CI 0.49, 0.78) as well as with selected clinical measures of glandular function.

Conclusion: The association between self-reported symptoms of dry eyes or dry mouth and anti-Ro and anti-La, found in more than one-third of mature adults in this study, suggests that the immune abnormalities and exocrine gland dysfunction found in Sjögren's syndrome affect a substantial proportion of the general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheumatoid Factor / analysis
  • Rheumatoid Factor / immunology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xerostomia / epidemiology
  • Xerostomia / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • SS-A antibodies
  • SS-B antibodies
  • Rheumatoid Factor