A recent study by Adelaide medical researchers has identified a possible link between the symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome and an antibody in the blood which interferes with nerve transmission.
Dr Maureen Rischmueller, consultant rheumatologist in the Department of Rheumatology at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital said, "Sjogren's syndrome is a common auto immune rheumatic disease affecting up to one percent of the population, predominantly women. "It is typified by severe dryness of the eyes and mouth with accelerated dental caries, often in association with fatigue, muscle and joint pains, swollen glands and other widespread complaints."
Results of the study published this week in the international journal Arthritis and Rheumatism (Vol. 43, No. 7., pp. 1647-1654), demonstrate for the first time that antibodies found in the bloodstream of patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome which bind to the receptors of small nerve endings found in glandular structures and other organs have the effect of blocking transmission through these nerves.
Dr Rischmueller and associates Dr Sally Waterman and Professor Tom Gordon, Department of Immunology, Allergy and Arthritis, FMC hope to obtain major funding to continue their work into this debilitating illness, the results of which will also aid in the understanding and treatment of other autoimmune diseases.
The current study was carried out in collaboration with the North Western Adelaide Health Service, Adelaide University and the Flinders Medical Centre.
Contact: Jan Rohrsheim
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza