Several studies have shown a negative association between smoking and primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS), and smoking may interfere with the immune response. The purpose of this study was to investigate if smoking affects disease activity and disease phenotype in pSS. In this cross-sectional study, consecutive pSS patients filled out the EULAR Sjögren’s Syndrome Patient Reported Index (ESSPRI) form and a structured questionnaire regarding smoking habits. EULAR Sjögren’s Syndrome Disease Activity Index (ESSDAI) scores were calculated and blood samples were analysed for type I interferon signature using RT-PCR. Of 90 patients (93% women, median age 66.5 years), 72% were type I IFN signature positive and 6, 42 and 53% were current, former and never smokers, respectively. No significant differences by smoking status were found regarding ESSDAI total score, activity in the ESSDAI domains or type I IFN signature. Patients with a higher cumulative cigarette consumption (≥ median) had higher scores in ESSPRI total [5.0 (3.0–6.3) vs 8.0 (6.0–8.3); p < 0.01] and ESSPRI sicca and pain domains. Comparing type I IFN signature negative and positive patients, the latter had significantly lower activity in ESSDAI articular domain (7/25 vs 3/64; p < 0.01) and lower scores in ESSPRI total [7.7 (5.2–8.2) vs 6.0 (4.0–7.7); p = 0.04]. Smoking was not associated with disease phenotype although patients with a higher cumulative cigarette consumption had worse symptoms in some disease domains. Current smokers were few making it difficult to draw any firm conclusions about associations to current smoking.

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Rheumatology International
Department of Immunology

Olsson, P., Bodewes, I., Nilsson, A.M., Turesson, C., Jacobsson, L.T.H., Theander, E., … Mandl, T. (2019). Associations of cigarette smoking with disease phenotype and type I interferon expression in primary Sjogren's syndrome. Rheumatology International, 39(9), 1575–1584. doi:10.1007/s00296-019-04335-3