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Abstract

Plasma cytokines play an important role in the pathogenesis of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) by initiating and perpetuating various cellular and humoural autoimmune processes. The aim of the present study was to describe a broad spectrum of T-cell and B-cell cytokines, growth factors, chemokines and molecules that could contribute to cell death in SS. A novel protein array system was utilized to measure simultaneously the levels of 25 plasma cytokines of patients with primary SS and healthy individuals. Furthermore, we correlated these plasma cytokine levels with potential laboratory and clinical parameters related to disease activity in SS. A subset of plasma cytokines [e.g. interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, CXCL8 (IL-8), IL-12 p40, IL-15, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), epidermal growth factor, CCL4 (MIP-1β), CCL2 (MCP-1), CCL11 (Eotaxin), CCL5 (RANTES), TNF-RI and TNF-RII] was found to significantly differ between patients and controls. Also, distinct populations of cytokines were found to differentiate between patients with normal versus elevated ESR or IgG levels and patients with the presence or absence of extra-glandular manifestations (EGMs). Our results support the assumption that the multiplex cytokine array system can be successfully utilized in the diagnosis and disease management of SS. Furthermore, it may provide a powerful tool in the design of individualized anticytokine therapies.