Sex steroid hormones in primary Sjögren's Syndrome

Michael T. Brennan, Vidya Sankar, Rose Anne Leakan, Margaret M. Grisius, Michael T. Collins, Philip C. Fox, Bruce J. Baum, Stanley R. Pillemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective. To investigate the relationships between concentrations of sex hormones and measures of disease activity in patients with primary Sjögren's Syndrome (pSS). Methods. Fifty-four women were evaluated: 39 patients (age, Q1,Q3: 57.0 yrs; 46, 66) diagnosed with pSS and 15 patients (49.0 yrs; 45, 60) who did not meet diagnostic criteria for pSS. The following measures of disease activity were assessed: serological data [antinuclear antibody, rheumatoid factor, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), serum immunoglobulin levels (IgG, IgA, IgM), serum protein, anti-SSA, and anti-SSB], labial minor salivary gland focus score, salivary flow rates, and objective measures of eye dryness (fluorescein corneal staining and unstimulated Schirmer's I test). Spearman correlations were calculated between these indices of disease activity and serum levels of sex hormones: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, androstenedione, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone, estradiol, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Results. Numerous differences were noted between cases and controls with disease activity measures. All median values of sex steroid hormones were within the range of normal for pSS cases. Positive correlations were noted between testosterone and ESR (r = 0.36, p = 0.03), testosterone and serum protein (r = 0.37, p = 0.05), and testosterone and focus score (r = 0.44; p = 0.007). Negative correlations were present between SHBG and anti-SSA (r = -0.33, p = 0.05), SHBG and anti-SSB (r = -0.43, p = 0.009), and DHT and CRP (r = -0.41, p = 0.05). No correlations were noted between estrogens and measures of pSS disease activity. Conclusion. Higher levels of disease activity (ESR, serum protein, and focus score) were associated with higher concentrations of testosterone. No correlation between disease activity and estrogens was found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1271
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Sjögren's Syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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