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.