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Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):4066-71. doi: 10.1002/art.34679.

Brief report: adrenal autoimmunity in primary Sjögren's syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, M. Asias 75, Athens, Goudi 1152, Greece.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the prevalence of antibodies to 21-hydroxylase (anti-21[OH]), a marker of autoimmune adrenal disease, in a cohort of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and to investigate whether the presence of anti-21(OH) correlates with clinical, serologic, and salivary gland features of the disease.

METHODS:

Sera from 63 consecutive patients with primary SS, 32 patients with autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD), and 20 healthy controls were obtained and anti-21(OH) levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. Clinical, serologic, and histopathologic features were recorded, and a short Synacthen test was used to assess adrenal function reserve. Seven available minor salivary gland (MSG) tissue specimens from patients in the primary SS cohort were also assessed for interferon-α (IFNα), BAFF, and interleukin-21 (IL-21) cytokine transcripts, which are all implicated in B cell activation.

RESULTS:

Anti-21(OH) positivity was detected in 17.5% and 28.1% of primary SS and AITD patients, respectively, and in none of the healthy controls. While no evidence of adrenal insufficiency was detected in any of the patients studied, a blunted rate of increase in cortisol levels was observed in patients with detectable serum autoantibodies against 21(OH), compared to their anti-21(OH)-negative counterparts. A strong correlation between the serum titer of anti-21(OH) antibodies and expression of IFNα, BAFF, and IL-21 messenger RNA in MSG tissues was also detected.

CONCLUSION:

Adrenal autoimmunity occurs in almost 20% of patients with primary SS in association with markers of B cell activation. Although the presence of adrenal autoantibodies was not associated with adrenal insufficiency in the present study, there was a blunted adrenal response, suggesting the need for further followup and monitoring of adrenal function in patients with primary SS who are positive for the autoantibodies.

PMID:
22933251
DOI:
10.1002/art.34679
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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