Inducible nitric oxide synthase increases secretion from inflamed salivary glands

Patricia N. Correia*, Guy H. Carpenter, Katherine L. Paterson, Gordon B. Proctor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Salivary gland secretion is dependent on cholinergic stimulation via autonomic nerves and calcium signalling in acinar cells. Secretory dysfunction associated with SS may be partly caused by the damaging effects of increased glandular concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) derived from up-regulation of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) that accompanies glandular inflammation. The present study examines the effects of increased iNOS expression on salivary gland secretory function. METHODS: The inflammogen lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was introduced intraductally into rat submandibular glands, and glandular responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation was determined. RESULTS: LPS provoked a rapid, long-lasting inflammation, increasing gland weight (by almost 20%) and inflammatory cell infiltration at 3 and 24 h. Immunoblotting of glandular homogenates indicated that iNOS expression was increased approximately 4-fold, and immunohistochemistry of frozen tissue sections showed increased iNOS expression in acinar cells. Salivary secretion from inflamed glands was significantly increased in response to low doses of methacholine and accompanied by increased acinar cell calcium signalling in vitro. Prior administration of the iNOS inhibitors, aminoguanidine or L-NIL [L-N6-(1-iminoethyl)-lysine dihydrochloride] abolished increased secretion and acinar cell calcium signalling. CONCLUSIONS: Up-regulation of glandular iNOS expression can increase cholinergically evoked salivary secretion and appears to offset any secretory hypofunction linked with glandular inflammation. It seems unlikely that increased glandular levels of NO are responsible for the secretory hypofunction that accompanies SS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology (Oxford, England)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Salivary gland
  • Secretory hypofunction
  • Nitric oxide
  • Inducible nitric oxidesynthase
  • Cholinergic
  • Rat submandibular
  • Lipopolysaccharide


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