(HealthDay News) – Autoantibodies can be detected years before symptom onset in many patients with the autoimmune disease primary Sjögren syndrome, according to a study published in the Nov. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Roland Jonsson, DMD, PhD, from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues examined the presence of 11 autoantibodies in presymptomatic serum samples from 44 patients with primary Sjögren syndrome (obtained a mean of seven years before symptom onset) and 44 controls.

The researchers found that 66% of patients with Sjögren syndrome had detectable antibodies before symptom onset. The most common autoantibody was antinuclear antibodies, followed by immunoglobulin M-class rheumatoid factor, anti-Ro60/SSA, anti-Ro52/SSA, and anti-La/SS-B. In all cases, autoantibodies were present in the earliest available serum sample, obtained a median of four to six years before symptom onset but as early as 18 years before symptom onset.

“Autoantibody profiling may identify individuals at risk many years before disease onset,” Jonsson and colleagues write.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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