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Cytokines are critical in initiating and perpetuating the chronic inflammatory response in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS).1 Rituximab has beneficial effects on disease activity in pSS patients2 and results in a rise in B cell activating factor (BAFF) levels.3 Whether (elevated) levels of other (proinflammatory) cytokines are affected was addressed in this study. This information is important for understanding of the effect of rituximab in pSS.
Twenty-eight patients with early-onset pSS2 treated with rituximab (n=18) or placebo (n=10), and 10 age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) were assessed for presence of cytokines/chemokines in serum, using a multiplex-25 bead array assay (Invitrogen, Breda, The Netherlands). The following cytokines and chemokines were analysed: GM-CSF, IL-1β, IL-1Ra, IL-2, IL-2R, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p40/p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IFN-α, IFN-γ, TNF-α, MCP-1/CCL2, MIP-1α/CCL3; MIP-1β/CCL4, RANTES/CCL5, Eotaxin/CCL11, MIG/CXCL9 and IP-10/CXCL10.
At baseline, levels for nearly all cytokines/chemokines were significantly higher in pSS patients than …