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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 243723, 10 pages
Review Article

T Regulatory and T Helper 17 Cells in Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome: Facts and Perspectives

1Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, 06123 Perugia, Italy
2Rheumatology Unit, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy

Received 26 January 2015; Revised 14 April 2015; Accepted 16 April 2015

Academic Editor: Alex Kleinjan

Copyright © 2015 Alessia Alunno et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Historically, primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) was thought to be a T helper (h) 1 driven disease due to the predominance of CD4+T lymphocytes and their products in target organs and peripheral blood of patients. In the last decades, the identification of a number of T cell subsets, including Th17, T regulatory (Treg), and follicular helper T cells, challenged this long-standing paradigm and prompted to identify their role in pSS pathogenesis. In addition the impact of abnormal proinflammatory cytokine production, such as IL-6, IL-17, IL-22, and IL-23, has also attracted considerable attention. However, although several studies have been carried out in experimental models and patients with pSS, many aspects concerning the role of Treg cells and IL-17/Th17 cell system in pSS pathogenesis are not fully elucidated. In particular, the role played by different IL-17-producing T cell subsets as well as the effects of pharmacological therapies on Treg/Th17 cell balance represents an intriguing issue. The aim of this review article is to provide an overview of current knowledge on Treg cells and IL-17-producing T cells in pSS pathogenesis. We believe that these insights into pSS pathogenesis may provide the basis for successful therapeutic intervention in this disease.