Purpose of review
Although uncommon, systemic vasculitis
is one of the most severe extraglandular manifestations of primary Sjögren's syndrome
(pSS) accounting for the increased morbidity and mortality of the disease. This review aims to describe major previous and recent reports regarding the clinical presentation, prognosis and treatment of systemic vasculitis
associated with pSS.
Both older and recent pSS cohort studies performed over the past several and recent years, have clearly shown that cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis is the most frequent type of systemic vasculitis
accompanying pSS. Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated, large and medium vessel vasculitis are described only in sporadic cases. In addition to the overt clinical manifestations of cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis, type II cryoglobulinaemia
, glomerulonephritis and purpura have been correlated with increased risk for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in pSS.
pSS is characterized by autoreactive B and T-cell infiltrates around the epithelial structures of the affected organs, as well as, B-cell hyperreactivity. The latter, is attested by the increased production of autoantibodies, directed against many different organ and nonorgan self-antigens. Vasculitis is a significant and potentially life-threatening complication of the disease depending on the size, localization, histologic type and the pathogenetic mechanisms of the inflammatory process. The potentially irreversible tissue damage, as well as the increased risk for NHL development, prompts the need for early diagnosis and treatment of cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis in pSS.