A Presentation of Pediatric Sjögren's Syndrome with Abducens Nerve Palsy

Jenny Lin, Judith A. Gadde, Elaine Flanagan, Grace Gombolay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sjögren's syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease that classically presents with xerophthalmia and xerostomia. However, neurological manifestations occur in 10 to 60% of patients with Sjögren's syndrome and can often precede classic sicca symptoms in Sjögren's syndrome in some cases up to several years. Rarely, cranial neuropathy can be the initial presentation. Here, we present the first case of a 15-year-old girl with left abducens palsy in the setting of a new diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome. Comprehensive evaluation revealed elevated Sjögren's syndrome-related antigen A-60 antibody. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis was unremarkable. Radiological studies demonstrated evidence of chronic parotitis. Acute treatment included high-dose methylprednisolone and rituximab, and symptoms resolved by follow-up at 2 weeks. The most common neurological disorder of Sjögren's syndrome is pure sensory neuropathy. In pediatric Sjögren's syndrome, neurological complications are rare but include aseptic meningoencephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, and cranial neuropathies. In the circumstance of a cranial neuropathy, the trigeminal nerve is most commonly involved but oculomotor nerves can occasionally be affected. Abducens palsies have been described in four patients with Sjögren's syndrome, typically women and all middle aged or older, with our patient being the first pediatric case. Thus, it is important to consider screening for Sjögren's syndrome in the evaluation of pediatric patients with new onset of isolated cranial neuropathy even in the absence of classic sicca symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-397
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • abducens palsy
  • cranial nerve VI palsy
  • cranial neuropathy
  • pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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