Gastrointestinal and hepatic manifestations of Sjogren syndrome

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan;46(1):25-30. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182329d9c.


Sjogren syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disease that affects exocrine glands and therefore may affect the gastrointestinal system, from the mouth, esophagus, and bowel to the liver and pancreas. Oral involvement in SS is mainly characterized by dryness, with a wide spectrum of symptoms, from mild-to-severe xerostomia with dysgeusia and tooth decay. The dysphagia, although common, does not correlate with the reduced salivary flow rate or the dysmotility that may be present. Dyspepsia, found in up to 23% of patients, may be associated with gastritis, reduced acid production, and antiparietal cell antibodies, but rarely pernicious anemia. Pancreatic involvement, although rare, includes pancreatitis and pancreatic insufficiency. The most common causes of liver disease are primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Although abnormal liver tests are found in up to 49% of patients, they are usually mild. Although sicca syndrome, abnormal histology of the salivary glands, and abnormal sialograms are common in primary biliary cirrhosis, the antibodies to Ro/SSA or La/SSB antigens are infrequent. Xerostomia, sialadenitis, abnormal salivary flow rates, and abnormal Schirmer test in HCV vary widely among the studies, although the antibodies to Ro/SSA or La/SSB are only 1%. Several studies show that HCV is in saliva, although how this may impact sicca syndrome or SS in HCV is unclear. SS as a disease of exocrine glands affects many parts of the gastrointestinal system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology
  • Mouth Diseases / physiopathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Autoantibodies