Elevated tear interleukin-6 levels in patients with Sjögren syndrome

Ophthalmology. 1998 Dec;105(12):2327-9. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(98)91236-2.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to investigate interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in the tear fluid and sera of patients with Sjögren syndrome (SS).

Participants: Twelve patients with primary SS and 12 normal control subjects participated.

Intervention: Tear fluid and sera were obtained from the study and the control groups. Evaluation of tear fluid and sera IL-6 levels was done by using a quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. All assays were carried out blindly with respect to diagnosis.

Main outcome measures: Tear fluid IL-6 levels were measured.

Results: The mean concentration (+/- standard error) of IL-6 in the tears of patients with SS was elevated significantly compared to that of normal control subjects (88.6+/-16.2 vs. 42.1+/-10.6 pg/ml; P < 0.05). No significant differences were noted in the serum IL-6 levels between the two groups. A significant correlation (r = 0.742, P = 0.006) was found between tear fluid IL-6 levels and the focus score of lip biopsy specimens in patients with SS.

Conclusion: Tear fluid IL-6 levels may serve as an important marker for tear gland involvement in SS.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / blood
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Tears / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Eye Proteins
  • Interleukin-6
  • tear proteins