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The role of Epstein–Barr virus infection in primary Sjögren's syndrome

Maślińska, Maria

doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000622
INFECTIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF AUTOIMMUNITY: Edited by Yehuda Shoenfeld
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Purpose of review The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the role of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) virus in the pathogenesis of the primary Sjögren's syndrome. The article introduces the problem of consequences of EBV acute infection, and its reactivation, in association with the immune response modulation by the virus and with an increased risk of developing systemic autoimmune diseases and EBV-associated cancers.

Recent findings The knowledge about the mechanisms by which the virus may stay for years in a latent phase, unrecognized by the host response immune cells is constantly expanding. There are several mechanisms and theories about EBV influence on the autoimmune process in Sjogren's syndrome (pSS), including the similarity (molecular mimicry) between viral EBNA-2 protein and Ro-60 antigen or EBER-1 and EBER-2 viral proteins and La antigen.

Summary The influence of EBV infection on the development and course of pSS has been proven. It has also been established that both EBV and pSS result in the increased risk of tumor (especially lymphoma) development. In the light of these findings, new ways to manage EBV infections are being sought. Optimal methods for assessing EBV infection status are being devised. Research also aims at finding therapies, which target EBV through the inhibition of the autoimmune process and of viral activity. The present article is an attempt to discuss the most important phenomena and elements linking EBV infection to the primary Sjögren's syndrome.

National Institute of Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Early Arthritis Clinic, Spartanska1, Warsaw, Poland

Correspondence to Maria Maślińska, National Institute of Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Early Arthritis Clinic, Spartanska1, Warsaw 02-637, Poland. Tel: +48 60 181 59 62; e-mail: maslinskam@gmail.com

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