Immune-mediated axonal dysfunction in seropositive and seronegative primary Sjögren’s syndrome

Jowy Tani, Hsien Tzung Liao, Hui Ching Hsu, Lung Fang Chen, Tsui San Chang, Cindy Shin-Yi Lin, Jia Ying Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The present study investigates the peripheral neuropathy in Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) using the nerve excitability test to further elucidate how peripheral nerves are affected by the autoantibodies. Methods: Each patient received clinical evaluation, examination for anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La antibodies titer, paired motor and sensory nerve excitability test, thermal quantitative sensory test (QST), and nerve conduction study (NCS). Results: A total of 40 pSS patients wasenrolled. Motor axonal study of the pSS with positive anti-SSA/Ro or anti-SSB/La antibodies (n = 28) was found to have increased stimulus for 50% compound muscle action potential (CMAP) (P < 0.05), increased rheobase (P < 0.01), increased minimum I/V slope (P < 0.01) and hyperpolarizing I/V slope (P < 0.05), increased relative refractory period (RRP, P < 0.001), decreased accommodation of threshold electrotonus toward depolarizing current (P < 0.05), and increased accommodation toward hyperpolarizing current (P < 0.05). Seronegative pSS (n = 10) showed much less prominent motor axonal changes, showing only increased minimum I/V slope (P < 0.05). Sensory axonal study in seropositive pSS patients is found to have increased stimulus for 50% sensory nerve action potential (SNAP) (P < 0.01), decreased latency (P < 0.01), increased RRP (P < 0.01), and increased subexcitability (P < 0.05). Seronegative pSS patients have shown no significant sensory axonal changes. Thermal QST showed more prominent abnormalities in seronegative pSS compared to seropositive pSS. Interpretation: Anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La autoantibodies might cause dysfunction in nodal and internodal region of the axon and small nerve fibers; meanwhile, autoreactive antibodies in seronegative pSS mainly affect small nerve fibers. Thus, the underlying pathophysiology for the two types of pSS is different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-828
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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