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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Biomarker profiles in serum and saliva of experimental Sjögren's syndrome: associations with specific autoimmune manifestations

Nicolas Delaleu1*, Heike Immervoll23, Janet Cornelius4 and Roland Jonsson156

Author affiliations

1 Broegelmann Research Laboratory, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Haukelandsveien, Bergen 5021, Norway

2 Section of Pathology, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Jonas Liesvei, Bergen 5021, Norway

3 Department of Pathology, Haukeland University Hospital, Jonas Liesvei, Bergen 5021, Norway

4 Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida, SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA

5 Department of Rheumatology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Jonas Liesvei, Bergen 5021, Norway

6 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Jonas Liesvei, Bergen 5021, Norway

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:R22  doi:10.1186/ar2375

Published: 20 February 2008



Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a systemic autoimmune disease that mainly targets the exocrine glands. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of 87 proteins measured in serum and 75 proteins analyzed in saliva in spontaneous experimental SS. In addition, we intended to compute a model of the immunological situation representing the overt disease stage of SS.


Nondiabetic, nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice aged 21 weeks were evaluated for salivary gland function, salivary gland inflammation and extraglandular disease manifestations. The analytes, comprising chemokines, cytokines, growth factors, autoantibodies and other biomarkers, were quantified using multi-analyte profile technology and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Age-matched and sex-matched Balb/c mice served as a reference.


We found NOD mice to exhibit impaired salivary flow, glandular inflammation and increased secretory SSB (anti-La) levels. Thirty-eight biomarkers in serum and 34 in saliva obtained from NOD mice were significantly different from those in Balb/c mice. Eighteen biomarkers in serum and three chemokines measured in saliva could predict strain membership with 80% to 100% accuracy. Factor analyses identified principal components mostly correlating with one clinical aspect of SS and having distinct associations with components extracted from other families of proteins.


Autoimmune manifestations of SS are greatly independent and associated with various immunological processes. However, CD40, CD40 ligand, IL-18, granulocyte chemotactic protein-2 and anti-muscarinic M3 receptor IgG3 may connect the different aspects of SS. Processes related to the adaptive immune system appear to promote SS with a strong involvement of T-helper-2 related proteins in hyposalivation. This approach further established saliva as an attractive biofluid for biomarker analyses in SS and provides a basis for the comparison and selection of potential drug targets and diagnostic markers.