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October 2021

Neuropeptides. 1998 Dec; 32(6): 543-8.

Sensory stimulation (acupuncture) increases the release of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the saliva of xerostomia sufferers.

Dawidson I, Angmar-MÃ¥nsson B, Blom M, Theodorsson E, Lundeberg T.

Department of Cariology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden. [email protected]

We have shown in earlier studies that xerostomia can be treated successfully with acupuncture. We also found that acupuncture stimulation can increase the concentration of neuropeptides in the saliva of healthy subjects. In this study, the concentration of the neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) was measured in the saliva of xerostomic patients in connection with acupuncture treatment (AP). Patients suffering from xerostomia caused by irradiation treatment, Sjögren's syndrome and other systemic disorders had been treated with acupuncture. Some of these patients showed an increase of their salivary flow rates after the AP was completed. Seventeen patients out of 65 were chosen due to their ability to produce enough saliva for the radio immunoassay (RIA) analyses to be conducted prior to the start of AP. VIP-like immunoreactivity (VIP-LI) was measured in the chewing stimulated saliva of these patients before and after the whole AP (24 sessions of 30 min each). The results showed that there was a significant increase of the concentration of VIP after the AP as compared to the measurements made before the start of the treatment (p<0.05). We concluded that the increase of neuropeptide VIP might be one of the mechanisms behind the positive effect of acupuncture on the salivary flow rates of the xerostomic patients.

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