Study investigates biomarkers of Sjögren’s syndrome-related
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Tear composition, specifically mucin 5AC and interleukin-8 levels, might differentiate Sjögren’s syndrome-related dry eye, according to a study presented at the virtual Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting. The aim was to investigate whether differentiate the inflammatory response on the ocular surface in Sjögren’s syndrome-related dry eye compared to non-Sjögren’s syndrome dry eye.

In a prospective study, 21 patients with Sjögren’s syndrome (SS)-related dry eye, 20 patients with non-SS dry eye, and 21 healthy subjects were enrolled. Clinical evaluation included noninvasive tear break-up time, tear osmolarity, tear sampling, Schirmer’s test, and ocular surface staining. Mucin levels in tears were assessed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and cytokines were measured using Luminex assay.

Tear [breakup time] was significantly shorter and conjunctival lissamine green staining score was significantly greater in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome. Tear mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) levels in SS-dry eye were significantly reduced. A regression model showed that only conjunctival staining, among all clinical tests performed in this study, was significantly associated with reduced tear MUC5AC levels.

Among cytokines, IL-8 showed increased levels in patients with SS-related dry eye. When patients were stratified based on tear MUC5AC levels, with a cutoff value of 60 ng/mL, different patterns of cytokines were found in the two groups, and significantly increased tear IL-8 levels were detected in those with SS but not in non-SS patients.

The study demonstrated that the tear composition of SS-related dry eye differs from tear composition of non-SS dry eye. These findings may allow for earlier diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, potentially allowing earlier treatment of the most severe manifestations of the disease, such as lymphoma.

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