Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Constant dryness in the mouth, what is the solution?

11.09.2003


Dryness in the mouth is not an agreeable sensation and much less so if the condition becomes an illness. Effectively, there are illnesses related to lack of saliva, as is the case of the sicca-sicca disease and the Goujerot-Sjögren syndrome.


Goujerot-Sjögren syndrome mostly affects elderly women



The research regarding these uncommon illnesses began to be important in 1976 when new functions of the molecule ATP (adenine triphosphate) were discovered. In that year it was found that the ATP molecule and its derivative controlled a number of biological processes and, based on those results, research began on the relation between ATP and the secretion of saliva.

This research had both biological and medical interest, for example, in order to cure the above-mentioned ailments.


The sicca-sicca disease and the Goujerot-Sjögren syndrome are normally associated with the elderly and result in both a lack of saliva and a lack of tears. The lack of saliva produces dryness of the mouth, difficulty in speaking and eating and, in the case of lack of tears, the patient may even become blind.

The importance of saliva

Saliva cleans and protects the mouth, the digestive tract and the stomach. It contains the proteases and other enzymes such as EFG (Epidermal Growth Factor). These enzymes help skin growth, thus curing the small wounds that food produces in both the digestive tract and the mouth.

Taking into account the importance of saliva, the research team at Leioa (University of the Basque Country) studied in principle the salivary glands, for example the gland located below the mandible. These glands, when the Goujerot-Sjögren syndrome is present, secrete a protein. These proteins, at the same time, produce an increase in the number of T-lymphocytes around the gland and this is soon completely surrounded by proteins and antibodies. The gland cannot produce saliva in this situation and so, little by little, it self-destructs; i.e., the Goujerot-Sjögren syndrome is an auto-immune illness.

It was precisely during these studies where it was seen that the ATP molecule and its receptors, the purinergic receptors, played an important role in the secretion of saliva. More specifically, it was seen that the ATP is generated on eating or at the beginning of digestion; i.e., when the salivary glands are excited.

The following step in the research was to characterise the ATP receptors and analyse the process followed by the chemical signals in the cells. In this way they discovered that, in illnesses associated with lack of saliva, the ATP was capable of opening the ducts which secrete the fluid. The same happens with the eye when tears are lacking, or in the trachea when fluids for cleaning it are lacking, and also with patients who have their bronchial tubes obstructed or in cystic fibrosis. Likewise, ATP has a positive effect on the blood platelets, thus avoiding possible thrombosis.

Thus, ATP and its derivatives promote the secretion of fluids and is a new field for medication for these illnesses. The newly-discovered functions of a little-studied molecule could be the solution for many patients.

Contact :
Garazi Andonegi
ELHUYAR Fundazioa
garazi@elhuyar.com
(+34) 943363040

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Guardians of the Gate

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>