Infections may increase the risk of developing primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (pSS), most prominently Sjögren’s syndrome-related antigen A (SSA) and Sjögren’s syndrome-related antigen B (SSB) positive disease, according to new research.1
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Published March 20 in the Journal of Internal Medicine, these findings suggest microbial triggers of immunity may be involved in the pathogenetic process of pSS, says Marie Wahren-Herlenius, MD, the study’s lead investigator and a professor at the Department of Medicine, the Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
“Although we are beginning to understand more of the genetic variants increasing susceptibility in rheumatic diseases, we know very little about the environmental factors that trigger disease in susceptible individuals,” she says. “We do know the immune system, which developed to protect us against infections, is dysregulated in Sjögren’s syndrome and several studies have indicated a role for type I interferon in the pathogenesis of Sjögrens syndrome.”