The function of neutrophils was studied in 23 consecutive patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome and in 35 healthy controls. Nineteen patients (83%) had extraglandular symptoms and nine patients (39%) had recurrent bacterial infections. The patients had a marked reduction of neutrophil adherence, especially those with recurrent bacterial infections, and reduced opsonic activity of plasma. Increased random migration of isolated neutrophils was found in the patients with a propensity for bacterial infections. Chemotaxis and chemokinesis, phagocytosis, chemiluminescence production, and the intracellular neutrophil contents of lactoferrin and lysozyme were normal. The various aspects of neutrophil function tested in this study were not related to disease duration or to inflammatory disease activity. The impaired neutrophil adherence may play a part in the increased propensity for bacterial infections seen in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome.
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