Objectives: Through a comprehensive epidemiological study, we determined Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) prevalence and examined the association between SS and ionizing radiation dose.
Methods: A total of 1,008 atomic bomb survivors in Nagasaki agreed to undergo the tests comprising questionnaire for xerophthalmia and xerostomia, Schirmer-I test, Saxon test, and tests of anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La antibodies, and, if necessary, Rose Bengal stain test, salivary ultrasonographic and MRI examination from November 2002 through October 2004. Diagnosis of SS was based on the American-European Consensus Group criteria, or a modified one.
Results: Among the 1008 participants (male 398, female 610, average age 71.6 years), 154 participants (15.3%) complained of xerophthalmia, and 264 (26.2%) of xerostomia. Reduced tear flow by the Schirmer-I test was detected in 371 of 992 participants (37.4%) and reduced saliva flow by the Saxon test in 203 of 993 participants (20.4%). Among all participants, 38 (3.8%) and 10 (1.0%) participants tested positive for anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La antibodies, respectively. Taking into consideration all the results, 23 participants were diagnosed with SS (primary 20, secondary 3), yielding a prevalence of 2.3%. Although the association between SS and radiation dose was not significant, radiation dose was significantly associated with hyposalivation.
Conclusions: The present comprehensive epidemiological study revealed that the prevalence of SS was 2.3% among Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors and was not associated with radiation dose. The association between radiation dose and hyposalivation supported the possibility that radiation exposure damaged salivary gland function.
- Sjogren's syndrome
- sicca syndrome