Primary Sjogren syndrome: clinical and immunopathologic features

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1984 Nov;14(2):77-105. doi: 10.1016/0049-0172(84)90001-5.


Primary Sjogren syndrome is an autoimmune condition in which dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and dry mouth (xerostomia) result from lymphocytic infiltration of lacrimal and salivary glands. Clinical and laboratory features of 60 primary Sjogren syndrome patients seen at our clinic during the past three years are presented. These patients illustrate the wide spectrum of extraglandular features that may occur as a result of lymphoid infiltration of lung, kidney, skin, stomach, liver, and muscle. They further emphasize the difficulty in classifying a patient as primary or secondary Sjogren syndrome (ie, sicca symptoms associated with systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma), particularly early in the disease course. As an initial step in understanding the pathogenesis, the lymphocytes that infiltrate the salivary glands and lymph nodes were characterized by using monoclonal antibodies that recognize distinct lymphocyte subsets and by using in vitro functional assays. These studies have demonstrated that affected tissues have infiltrates of T cells with helper/inducer activity and with a high frequency of "activation antigens." The immunohistologic techniques are useful in differentiating "benign" and "pseudolymphoma" lesions (both due predominantly to T cells) from non-Hodgkin lymphoma (usually due to B-cell infiltrates). Although there is no "cure" for primary Sjogren syndrome patient's symptoms may be significantly improved by measures aimed at prevention of ocular and dental complications and by the recognition of extraglandular features that may be amenable to specific treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Blood Cells / immunology
  • Diet
  • Digestive System / physiopathology
  • Eye Manifestations / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose Diseases / therapy
  • Oral Manifestations / drug therapy
  • Salivary Glands / immunology
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Salivary Glands / surgery
  • Sinusitis / therapy
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / therapy
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents