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Review

Immunopathologic differences of Sjögren's syndrome versus sicca syndrome in HCV and HIV infection

Claudio Vitali

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine and Section of Rheumatology, 'Villamarina' Hospital, 57025 Piombino, Italy

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:233  doi:10.1186/ar3361

Published: 19 August 2011

Abstract

A clinical picture of dry eye and dry mouth with the histological counterpart of focal lymphocytic sialoadenitis, usually detected in minor salivary glands, is considered the hallmark of Sjögren's syndrome. The association of sicca complaints and focal sialoadenitis can be also found in a number of other diseases, including some systemic viral infections. Among these conditions, chronic hepatitis C virus infection, associated with mixed cryoglobulinaemia and extra-hepatic manifestations, and HIV infection, particularly in the phase of diffuse interstitial lymphocytic infiltration, may mimic the clinical and histological aspects of Sjögren's syndrome. However, each disorder is characterised by specific, disease-related immunopathological aspects. Besides sicca complaints, the various disorders may also share a number of systemic extra-glandular features and the possible development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphomas. This latter event represents in all of these diseases the final result of an antigen-driven chronic stimulation of B lymphocytes.