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 Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>