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Neuropeptides. 1999 Jun;33(3):244-50.

Sensory stimulation (acupuncture) increases the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide in the saliva of xerostomia sufferers.

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Department of Cariology, Karolinska Institutet, Box 4064, Huddinge, 141 04, Sweden.


Over the last decade, several patients afflicted with xerostomia have been treated with acupuncture. Their salivary flow rates increased significantly and the improvement lasted during a long observation period. We also found that the release of several neuropeptides in the saliva of healthy subjects can be increased by acupuncture stimulation. The concentration of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide increased significantly in the saliva of xerostomic patients after acupuncture treatment. The release of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) was investigated in the saliva of xerostomic patients in order to elucidate further the mechanisms of the effect of sensory stimulation (acupuncture) on the salivary secretion. CGRP-like immunoreactivity was measured with radioimmunoassay (RIA) before and after a double series of acupuncture treatment, in stimulated saliva of 14 patients who suffered from xerostomia. The results showed that the concentration of CGRP increased significantly (P<0.001) in the saliva of these patients after the end of acupuncture treatment as compared to base-line levels. Taking into consideration the influence of CGRP on the salivary flow, as well as its trophic effect, we concluded that the increased release of CGRP could be one of the factors that affect positively the salivary flow rates of xerostomic patients who were treated with acupuncture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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