Mediterr J Rheumatol 2021;32(2):176-8
DNA Methylation Studies in Saliva of Patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome
Authors Information

Department of Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is a relatively common systemic autoimmune disease of unknown aetiology, although genetic, hormonal, immunologic, and environmental factors are thought to be involved in disease pathogenesis. It is also termed “autoimmune epithelitis”, and afflicts mainly the epithelial structures of salivary and lachrymal glands, through periepithelial lymphocytic infiltration responsible for the occurrence of dryness symptoms. Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is also characterised by B cell hyperactivity as reflected by the presence of hypergammaglobulinemia and the production of autoantibodies, which seems to be associated with the presence of ectopic germinal centres within the inflamed minor salivary glands. Chronic antigenic stimulation may lead to expansion of B cell autoreactive clones with rheumatoid factor activity, and additional molecular events mediate malignant transformation into non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas of B cell origin. Therefore, the interaction between the immune cells of the inflammatory infiltrate and the salivary epithelium seems to have an important contribution in disease process. Recent histopathologic and molecular studies have shown that DNA methylation levels of SS patients compared to healthy individuals differ in epithelial cells of salivary glands and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In the present study, we intend to analyse the epigenetic modifications of DNA in the saliva of SS patients compared to healthy controls. More specifically, salivary DNA methylation levels of selected genetic loci previously found to differ in other tissues, will be compared between SS patients and healthy controls. The study includes saliva collection from SS patients and healthy individuals, extraction of genomic DNA and methylation assessment. The epigenetic profile of each genetic locus will be correlated with SS patients’ clinical characteristics and the possibility of genetic loci with differential differences in methylation to be used as potential diagnostic biomarkers will be explored. The current study is anticipated to reveal potential biomarkers for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, offering the advantage to utilise the easily collected and handled saliva as the main biologic material.

Article Submitted: 20 Sep 2020; Article Accepted: 20 Dec 2020; Available Online: 30 Jun 2021


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY). 

 ©Karagianni P, Kapsogeorgou EK, Tzioufas AG, Goules AV.