Friday, July 26, 2013

What's to Blame in Sjogren's?

So, I don't pretend to be a scientist but I saw something that I felt I had to share with fellow Sjoggies. 

It seem scientists are finally beginning to understand what may be causing this autoimmune disease.  The culprit may be partially our natural killer (NK) cells.  Sounds like a science fiction movie?  No, it's our bodies.  

So what are natural killer cells? The short version is that they are white blood cells that are supposed to attack bad actors like viruses and tumors.  But for us Sjoggies instead of doing their job correctly, they direct their attacks at healthy cells and target them to die (check out the video below to see how NK cells are supposed to act).  The study I am referring to found that in Sjogren's patients these "killer cells" seem to be having a party.  These cells are more active AND they each have more receptors (called NKp30) on their surface, which are involved in triggering an immune response.  And there's more, scientists also found a relationship between having too many of these natural killer cells and dysfunction of the salivary glands--basically these cells could be linked to the parching, lack of moisture that many with Sjogren's experience.

The good news? If the research is right, scientists may have found one of the major causes of the symptoms that impact us Sjoggies…and the hope (fingers crossed) is that knowledge is power!  That this information may help researchers help us.  Will it be soon?  I have no idea, but I'm so excited to see meaningful research being done on our condition that I want to make sure as many people know as possible. I realize some Sjoggies can run marathons, but for many of the Sjoggies I know that's a dream. Even being able to work is a dream. Perhaps with treatments based on this research or other research, more Sjogren's patients will have the opportunity to realize their dreams without being held back by their autoimmune disease and that's something we can all hope for.


  1. I am so pleased to receive your post automatically. Coming off high dose of prednisone and now so much is returning.
    As I have shared before
    so thankful I was not diagnosed with this until 70 years of age...
    I have had hopes of this totally going away
    but think it is here to stay and ever thankful
    for weeks when I feel almost like I did years ago....

    1. Yes, the days and weeks that are good ones are certainly worth treasuring. I always have hopes they will last as long as possible too.