Chronic fatigue, pain and depression are common in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome. These phenomena mutually affect each other and have a considerable impact on the patients' quality of life. While pain is usually regarded as a fairly somatic phenomenon, both fatigue and depression have traditionally been regarded as more-or-less of psychological origin. There is an increasing understanding that this picture is multifaceted; that there is a genetic foundation, and that biological mechanisms regulate the clinical expression through activation of evolutionary, deeply conserved neuronal pathways in the brain. This pattern is evident not only in primary Sjögren's syndrome, but also in other systemic inflammatory autoimmune diseases, in cancer and in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease. This article will mainly focus on the biology of pain and fatigue. We describe how these factors influence each other, and act with the overarching purpose of defending the organism against harm and danger.
Keywords: depression; fatigue; neuropathy; pain; primary Sjögren’s syndrome; sickness behavior.
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