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Henrik Sjögren (1899–1986): the syndrome and his legacy
  1. Roland Jonsson1,2
  1. 1Broegelmann Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Haukeland Universitetssjukehus, Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Professor Roland Jonsson, Broegelmann Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway; roland.jonsson{at}

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Henrik Samuel Conrad Sjögren was born on 23 July 1899 in the small city of Köping, in the county of Västmanland, Sweden. He studied medicine at the Karolinska Institute and received his license as an authorised doctor in 1927 (figure 1). Henrik Sjögren’s biography has been highlighted previously; one was in connection with the scientific meeting in Jönköping, Sweden celebrating the 100-year anniversary of his birth in 1999.1

Figure 1

Portrait of Henrik Sjögren.

In January 1930, at the Serafimer Hospital in Stockholm, Henrik Sjögren met a 49-year-old female patient who had suffered for about 6 years from pain in different joints, especially in her hands. However, the visit to Dr Sjögren was due to irritation of her eyes. Further, she reported problem about difficulties in eating and swallowing, due to lack of saliva. He had previously observed similar cases and that year he published in Hygiea, the Proceedings of the Swedish Medical Association, a paper in which he described another four cases.2 In that article, he coined the symptom ‘keratoconjunctivitis sicca’ and where he also carefully described the method to stain the damaged cells in the conjunctiva and cornea by using 1% Bengal rose. The staining was similar to that seen in ‘keratitis filiformis’.

At this time, Sjögren was well aware of that each …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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