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Open Badges Editorial

IL-21 and Sjögren's syndrome

R Hal Scofield

Author Affiliations

Departments of Medicine and Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 1000 North Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th Street, MS 53, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

Medical Service, Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, 921 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:137  doi:10.1186/ar3518

See related research by Kang et al.,

Published: 19 December 2011


Treatment of Sjögren's syndrome is almost entirely symptomatic. A lack of true understanding of the underlying immunological pathology of the disease prevents directed therapy. Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is elevated in the serum of patients with this disease and is expressed by the lymphocytes infiltrating the salivary glands. The known functions of IL-21 in facilitating differentiation, proliferation, and survival of both B and T cells mesh well with the findings in Sjögren's syndrome. Demonstration of IL-21 as a fundamental aspect of the pathophysiology of Sjögren's syndrome could lead to the development of anti-IL-21 therapy for this disease.