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 PET imaging tracks Zika virus infection, disease progression in mouse model
20.09.2017 | US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>