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Is Sjögren's syndrome a retroviral disease?

Nikolaos V Sipsas*, Maria N Gamaletsou and Haralampos M Moutsopoulos

Author affiliations

Pathophysiology Department, Laikon General Hospital and Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Mikras Asias 75, Athens - 11527, Greece

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:212  doi:10.1186/ar3262

Published: 13 April 2011


Circumstantial evidence suggests that retroviruses play a role in the pathogenesis of Sjögren's syndrome. Such evidence, derived from studies of patients with Sjögren's syndrome, includes the following: the presence of serum antibodies cross-reactive with retroviral Gag proteins; the occurrence of reverse transcriptase activity in salivary glands; the detection of retroviral antigens, retrovirus-like particles, or novel retroviral sequences in salivary glands; the occurrence of Sjögren's syndrome-like illnesses in patients having confirmed systematic infections with retroviruses such as human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and human T lymphotropic virus type 1; and the beneficial effect of anti-retroviral treatment on the occurrence of HIV-1-associated sicca syndrome. Additional evidence is provided by animal models.