Primary Sjögren's syndrome associated neuropathy

Can J Neurol Sci. 2007 Aug;34(3):280-7. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100006697.


Primary Sjögren's syndrome (PSS) mainly affects exocrine glands and is clinically characterized by keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia. Among several possible extraglandular manifestations, involvement of the peripheral nervous system may occur with reported frequencies from 10% to 60%. Peripheral nerve manifestations constitute sensory neuropathy, including sensory ganglioneuronopathy, sensorimotor, including polyradiculoneuropathy and demyelinating neuropathy, motor neuropathy, multiple mononeuropathy, trigeminal and other cranial neuropathies, autonomic neuropathy, and mixed patterns of neuropathy. Knowledge of the neurological manifestations of PSS is hampered by evolving classification criteria of PSS over the years, and by use of highly selected patient populations on the basis of a primary neurological diagnosis. Sural nerve biopsy may show vascular or perivascular inflammation of small epineurial vessels (both arterioles and venules) and in some cases necrotizing vasculitis. Loss of myelinated nerve fibers is common and loss of small diameter nerve fibers occurs. Pathology in cases of sensory ganglioneuronopathy consists of loss of neuronal cell bodies and infiltration of T cells. Peripheral neuropathy in PSS often is refractory to treatment although newer biological agents may provide more effective treatment options. Current treatment strategies used in autoimmune neuropathies may be tried depending upon characteristics of the neuropathy and results obtained by a thorough clinical and laboratory investigation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / immunology
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / immunology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / immunology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / pathology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / immunology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Neurons, Afferent / immunology
  • Neurons, Afferent / pathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / immunology
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / immunology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Vasculitis / immunology
  • Vasculitis / pathology
  • Vasculitis / physiopathology