Peptide-containing nerves in labial salivary glands in Sjögren's syndrome

Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Jul;35(7):815-20. doi: 10.1002/art.1780350717.


Objective: The presence and spatial distribution of peptide-containing nerves in labial salivary glands from 10 Sjögren's syndrome patients were compared with those in salivary glands from 7 healthy controls.

Methods: Immunoperoxidase staining was used to demonstrate vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-immunoreactive (IR) fibers, postganglionic sympathetic fibers containing the C-flanking peptide of neuropeptide Y (CPON), and sensory fibers containing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P.

Results: Acini, intralobular ducts, small arteries, and postcapillary veins were richly innervated by VIP-IR fibers, whereas CPON-, CGRP-, and substance P-IR fibers were restricted to blood vessels. Peptide-containing nerves were found surrounding, but not in the middle of, the highly inflamed mononuclear cell areas.

Conclusion: This topologic distribution suggests involvement of VIP-IR fibers in vascular, motor, and secretory components of the reflex salivary secretion, whereas the distribution and the vasoactive actions of CPON, CGRP, and substance P suggest a role in the regulation of the salivary gland circulation, and thus of transcapillary flow. Excessive release may contribute to a neurogenic inflammation. Local depletion and absence of trophic neuropeptide stimuli may contribute to acinar atrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • C-Peptide / chemistry
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Neuropeptide Y / chemistry
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry*
  • Peripheral Nerves / chemistry*
  • Reference Values
  • Salivary Glands / innervation*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology*
  • Substance P / chemistry
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / chemistry


  • C-Peptide
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Neuropeptides
  • Substance P
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide