Does Nasal Secretion Decrease in Sjögren Syndrome and Does This Affect Nasal Function?

Laryngoscope. 2021 Feb;131(2):370-373. doi: 10.1002/lary.29022. Epub 2020 Aug 11.


Objective: Sjögren syndrome is a systemic inflammatory disease causing gland dysfunction. Few (and contradictory) reports on the mucosal effects of Sjögren syndrome have appeared. Here, we objectively demonstrate nasal dryness in Sjögren syndrome patients and explore the effect of such dryness on olfaction.

Methods: Thirty-four consecutive patients with primary Sjögren syndrome were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. The control group consisted of 21 age- and sex-matched volunteers. Medical histories and nasal findings were recorded. The Connecticut Chemosensory Clinical Research Center test was used to evaluate olfactory function. All subjects underwent mucucociliary clearance analysis (the saccharin test and peak nasal inspiratory flowmetry). The intranasal Schirmer test was used to evaluate the nasal cavity.

Results: The nasal Schirmer test scores were 8.4 mm (right) and 8 mm (left) (P = .041, P = .016, respectively, compared to controls). The Chi-squared test revealed significant differences (compared to controls) in nasal dryness (P = .001), postnasal drip (P = .04), and smell (a decrease) (P = .005). Neither olfactory function nor mucociliary clearance differed between the groups. We noted a trend toward a positive correlation between olfactory function and the nasal Schirmer score but statistical significance was not attained.

Conclusion: The intranasal Schirmer test objectively showed that Sjögren syndrome patients exhibited nasal cavity dryness; this is useful in terms of follow-up. This did not affect olfactory function.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 131:370-373, 2021.

Keywords: Sjögren; intranasal Schirmer; nasal humidity; olfaction.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bodily Secretions
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucociliary Clearance*
  • Nasal Cavity / physiopathology
  • Nose Diseases / etiology
  • Nose Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Smell