Immunoresponsive Autonomic Neuropathy in Sjögren Syndrome—Case Series and Literature Review

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Abstract

Background:

Sjögren syndrome (SS) is one of the most common autoimmune disorders that classically affects exocrine glands, resulting in keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia, and frequently is associated with other systemic symptoms. SS appears to have a particular predilection for involving the autonomic nervous system.

Study Question:

Does immunotherapy improve signs and symptoms of autonomic nervous system impairment in SS?

Study Design:

This is a retrospective review of patients seen in the autonomic clinic at our institution who underwent an evaluation for a suspected autonomic disorder that ultimately was attributed to SS. SS patients who were treated with immunotherapy and completed autonomic testing before and after treatment were included in this review.

Results:

A total of 4 patients were identified who were treated for SS-related autonomic dysfunction with immunotherapy and underwent repeat autonomic testing after treatment. Marked clinical and functional improvement was seen after treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin in all patients and adjunctive rituximab therapy in 1 patient. The clinical improvement with immunotherapy in these patients correlated with markedly improved findings on autonomic testing in all.

Measures and Outcomes:

Clinical symptoms and results of autonomic testing prior to and following immunotherapy were assessed.

Conclusions:

Autonomic signs and symptoms in SS are potentially immunoresponsive, but immunotherapy in these patients may require repeated, ongoing, or adjunctive therapy for optimal and sustained improvement.

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