Background: Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a primary autoimmune disease (pSS) or secondarily associated with other autoimmune diseases (sSS). The mechanisms underlying immune dysregulation in this syndrome remain unknown, and clinically it is difficult to diagnose owing to a lack of specific biomarkers. Methods: We extracted immunoglobulins (Igs) from the sera of patients with sSS associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and used them to screen a phage display library of peptides with random sequences. Results: Our results show that an sSS-specific peptide, designated 3S-P, was recognized by sera of 68.2% (60 of 88) patients with sSS, 66.2% of patients with RA-sSS, and 76.5% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-sSS. The anti-3S-P antibody was scarcely found in patients with pSS (1.8%), RA (1.3%), SLE (4.2%), ankylosing spondylitis (0%), and gout (3.3%), as well as in healthy donors (2%). The 3S-P-binding Igs (antibodies) were used to identify antigens from salivary glands and synovial tissues from patients with sSS. A putative target autoantigen expressed in the synovium and salivary gland recognized by anti-3S-P antibody was identified as self-vimentin. Conclusions: This novel autoantibody is highly specific in the diagnosis of sSS, and the underlying molecular mechanism of the disease might be epitope spreading involved with vimentin.
- Sjögren's syndrome