Genetics and genomics of Sjgren's syndrome: Research provides clues to pathogenesis and novel therapies

Barbara M. Segal, Abu N.M. Nazmul-Hossain, Ketan Patel, Pamela Hughes, Kathy L. Moser, Nelson L. Rhodus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although the key inciting events that drive the progression from autoantibodies to clinical disease remain to be clarified, new light has been shed on the factors contributing to disease susceptibility and the role of genetic factors in determining Sjgren's syndrome (SS) disease phenotypes. The purpose of this article is to provide an update on the role of genetic markers in the susceptibility to and pathogenesis of SS. This article also discusses how genomic and proteomic technology can help in the design of specific therapeutics. Key findings: Recent evidence suggests that inflammatory genes associated with interferon pathways, and specific regulatory genes that control the maturation and proliferation of B cells, contribute to the pathogenesis of SS. Both gene expression profiling technology and gene association studies have been used to identify these key biological pathways. Molecularly, defined subsets of pSS patients are also being revealed by these studies. Previously, identified gene loci that predispose to multiple autoimmune disorders have been confirmed supporting the paradigm of "general" autoimmune disease genes. Association of SS with many additional susceptibility loci are likely to be established through ongoing genome-wide association scans (GWAS). Clues from genetic studies suggest that targeting B cells will prove to be an effective way of reducing the systemic manifestations of pSS and are supported by early clinical trials. Summary: Genome-wide technologies are likely to identify new genes and molecular pathways in the pathogenesis of SS that will be useful not only to identify patients at risk for SS, but also to identify subsets of patients at risk for variable levels of disease severity. In the future, these studies could identify novel biomarkers that will lead to significant advances in management by providing the means to tailor therapeutic strategies to individual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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