Pancreatic endocrine and exocrine function and salivary gland function in autoimmune pancreatitis before and after steroid therapy

Pancreas. 2003 Oct;27(3):235-8. doi: 10.1097/00006676-200310000-00007.


Introduction: Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a distinct clinical entity in which an autoimmune mechanism may be involved in pathogenesis.

Aim: To investigate salivary gland function in addition to pancreatic endocrine and exocrine function in patients with AIP, and to determine changes occurring after steroid therapy.

Methodology: Fasting serum glucose levels, oral glucose tolerance tests or glycosylated hemoglobin values were examined in 19 patients with AIP. N-benzoyl-L-tyrosyl-p-aminobenzoic acid excretion test, sialochemistry and parotid gland scintigraphy were performed in 8 patients.

Results: Eight patients had evidence of DM. Steroid therapy subsequently improved insulin secretion and glycemic control in 3 of 5 patients treated. Pancreatic exocrine function was reduced in 88% of patients. Impaired pancreatic exocrine function improved after steroid therapy in 3 of 6 patients treated. The 3 patients also showed treatment-related improvement in endocrine function. Concentration of beta2-microglobulin in saliva was significantly raised in patients with AIP compared with controls (P < 0.05). Ratio of cumulative peak count to injected radionuclide and washout ratio in parotid scintigraphy in patients with AIP was significantly lower than those of controls (P < 0.01). Salivary gland dysfunction improved after steroid therapy in all 5 patients treated.

Conclusions: Pancreatic endocrine and exocrine and salivary gland function were frequently impaired in patients with AIP, and steroid therapy was occasionally effective for these dysfunctions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pancreas / physiopathology*
  • Pancreatitis / complications
  • Pancreatitis / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology*
  • Parotid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Parotid Gland / drug effects
  • Parotid Gland / physiopathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Salivary Glands / diagnostic imaging
  • Salivary Glands / drug effects
  • Salivary Glands / physiopathology*
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Steroids / therapeutic use*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / analysis


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Steroids
  • beta 2-Microglobulin