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Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) can be complicated by distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA), which may contribute to low bone mineral density (BMD). Our objective was to evaluate BMD in pSS patients with and without dRTA as compared with healthy controls. BMD of lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN) was measured in 54 pSS patients and 162 healthy age- and sex-matched controls by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). dRTA was defined as inability to reach urinary pH <5.3 after an ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) test. LS- and FN-BMD were significantly higher in pSS patients compared with controls (1.18 ± 0.21 g/cm(2) for patients vs. 1.10 ± 0.18 g/cm(2) for controls, P = 0.008 and 0.9 ± 0.16 g/cm(2) for patients vs. 0.85 ± 0.13 g/cm(2) for controls, P = 0.009, respectively). After adjustment for BMI and smoking, the LS- and FN-BMD remained significantly higher. Patients with dRTA (N = 15) did not have a significantly different LS- and FN-BMD compared with those without dRTA (N = 39) after adjustment for BMI, age, and gender. Thirty-seven (69 %) pSS patients were using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Unexpectedly, pSS patients had a significantly higher LS- and FN-BMD compared with healthy controls. Patients with dRTA had similar BMD compared with patients without dRTA. We postulate that an explanation for the higher BMD in pSS patients may be the frequent use of HCQ.

Original publication




Journal article


Calcif Tissue Int

Publication Date





573 - 579


Bone mineral density, DEXA scan, Distal renal tubular acidosis, Hydroxychloroquine, Sjögren syndrome, Absorptiometry, Photon, Acidosis, Renal Tubular, Adult, Aged, Bone Density, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Sjogren's Syndrome