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Arch Oral Biol. 1990;35(6):435-41.

The effect of chronic propranolol treatment on salivary composition and caries in the rat.

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  • 1Department of Dental Research, University of Rochester, NY 14642.


Many drugs are known to affect salivary secretion. The purpose of this study was to explore the chronic effects of a commonly used beta-adrenergic blocker, propranolol. Adult rats were desalivated or treated for 28 days with propranolol HCl (10 or 20 mg/kg, daily) or sterile buffer (sham-operated control) using osmotic pumps for delivery. The parotid and submandibular glands of each rat were cannulated and secretion elicited by pilocarpine (10 mg/kg, intravenous). There were no statistical differences in salivary protein content (Lowry) or output among the groups (ANOVA, p greater than 0.05). Analysis of salivary proteins by SDS-PAGE revealed a constant profile for submandibular secretions, but peak A and SP-3 proline-rich proteins were not detectable in parotid saliva of animals treated with propranolol for the entire experiment. Significantly increased smooth-surface (p = 0.0003) and sulcal (p = 0.0011) caries scores were found within these propranolol groups (ANOVA). The findings provide further evidence that chronic administration of propranolol alters salivary composition by decreasing proline-rich proteins and concurrently enhances susceptibility to caries.

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