Acute encephalitis in primary Sjögren's syndrome: A case report and literature review

Misako Higashida-Konishi, Mitsuhiro Akiyam, Tatsuya Shimada, Satoshi Hama, Hiroshi Takei, Keisuke Izumi, Hisaji Oshima, Yutaka Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Acute encephalitis is an extremely rare condition in primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS), and its characteristics and prognosis remain unclear. Here, we report the case of pSS presented with acute encephalitis. She was admitted to our hospital for acute disturbance of consciousness. Acute encephalitis was diagnosed based on the results of the cerebrospinal fluid test (the increase of leucocyte counts, proteins, and interleukin-6 levels), magnetic resonance imaging, and single-photon emission computed tomography with 99mTc. The infectious aetiologies and underlying malignancies were excluded. Serum anti-Sjogren's syndrome-related antigen A autoantibody was positive with extremely high titre. The biopsy specimen of her labial salivary gland revealed a focal lymphocytic sialadenitis with a score of grade 4 in the Greenspan grade. She also developed diffuse alveolar haemorrhage during the clinical course. She was diagnosed with pSS complicated with acute encephalitis followed by diffuse alveolar haemorrhage and successfully treated with pulse steroids, high dose of prednisolone and intravenous cyclophosphamide. Our present case and literature review suggest that acute encephalitis associated with pSS can be treatable with the immunosuppressive therapy, and thus early recognition and treatment initiation are important for this life-threatening condition. Thus, pSS should be included in the differential diagnosis of unexplained encephalitis. Notably, our case characteristically showed diffuse alveolar haemorrhage, adding new insights into the pathogenesis of acute encephalitis associated with pSS that capillaritis might be the underlying cause of this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalModern Rheumatology Case Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 1


  • Acute encephalitis
  • interleukin-6
  • Sjögren's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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