Chiorini, John (Jay) (NIDCR)
Weller, Melodie (NIDCR)
Yin, Hongen (NIDCR)
- In vitro data available
- In vivo data available (animal)
- In vivo data available (human)
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks salivary glands resulting in chronic dry mouth and dry eyes. Currently, there is no single diagnostic test to confirm the presence of Sjögren's. Physicians presently reach diagnosis after conducting a series of blood and functional tests for tear and salivary production. Diagnosis is further complicated as Sjögren's symptoms frequently mimic those of other autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) and is often overlooked as dryness associated with medications being taken by the patient.
Researchers at NIDCR have identified overexpression of a growth factor, bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6), in patients with Sjögren's. By detecting BMP6 expression and/or activity, this invention potentially presents a singular confirmation to diagnose those suffering and those at risk for developing Sjögren's. BMP6 also presents a potential therapeutic target for Sjögren's, a disease for which there is presently no cure.
Researchers have also discovered unique expression profiles for two other genes (XIST and MECP2) in male Sjögren's patients. Detecting aberrant expression and/or activity of these genes also offer a potential singular test for diagnosing Sjögren's in male subjects.
- Singular diagnostic test to diagnose Sjögren's
- Therapeutic target to develop treatment for Sjögren's
- Currently no single test available to diagnose Sjögren's
- Currently there is no cure for Sjögren's; present palliative treatments only reduce symptoms (e.g., moisture replacement therapy for eyes and mouth, and systemic anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive agents for more advanced forms of disease)