Cytokines in Sjögren’s syndrome

Authors

  • N Roescher,

    1. Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, USA
    2. Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • PP Tak,

    1. Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • GG Illei

    1. Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, USA
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N Roescher, Molecular Physiology and Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Tel: 001 301 594 0192, Fax: 001 301 402 1228, E-mail: roeschern@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Cytokines play a central role in the regulation of immunity and are often found to be deregulated in autoimmune diseases. Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and loss of secretory function of the salivary and lachrymal glands. This review highlights the current knowledge of the expression and the function of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines both locally and systemically in Sjögren’s syndrome patients. In the salivary glands, saliva and serum of these patients, many pro-inflammatory cytokines are upregulated. Concomitantly, most anti-inflammatory cytokines are not detectable or are expressed at low levels. Besides a role in inflammation, cytokines are also thought to be involved in salivary gland dysfunction by directly interfering with the epithelial cells in the glands. Future research on the role of novel cytokines in Sjögren’s syndrome in combination with a better understanding of the effect of cytokines on exocrine dysfunction will aide the identification of the best therapeutic targets for Sjögren’s syndrome.

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