Cutaneous and Mucosal Manifestations of Sjögren’s Syndrome

Elena Generali, Antonio Costanzo, Carlo Mainetti, Carlo Selmi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sjögren’s syndrome is currently considered an “autoimmune epithelitis,” as exocrine glands, especially salivary and lacrimal, are progressively destructed by an immune-mediated process associated with specific serum autoantibodies and local lymphocyte infiltrate. Xerostomia remains a key complain in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome but should be evaluated also for other causes such as xerogenic medications, followed by radiation and chemotherapy for head and neck cancers, hormone disorders, infections, or other connective tissue diseases. Further, xerophtalmia (also known as dry eye) frequently associated with keratoconjunctivitis sicca cumulatively affects approximately 10–30% of the general population with increasing incidence with age and is more frequently secondary to non-autoimmune diseases. On the other hand, numerous patients with Sjögren’s syndrome manifest signs of systemic dryness involving the nose, the trachea, the vagina, and the skin, suggesting that other glands are also affected beyond the exocrine epithelia. Skin involvement in Sjögren’s syndrome is relatively common, and various manifestations may be present, in particular xeroderma, eyelid dermatitis, annular erythema, and cutaneous vasculitis. Additional skin non-vasculitic manifestations include livedo reticularis which may occur in the absence of vasculitis, and localized nodular cutaneous amyloidosis possibly representing lymphoproliferative diseases related to Sjögren’s syndrome. The treatment of skin and mucosal manifestations in Sjögren’s syndrome is similar regardless of the cause, starting from patient education to avoid alcohol and tobacco smoking and to pursue dental hygiene. In conclusion, a strict collaboration between the dermatologist and the rheumatologist is essential in the adequate management of Sjögren’s syndrome skin and mucosal manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Antinuclear antibody
  • Autoimmunity
  • B cell
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Sicca syndrome
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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