Taurine exerts a number of actions in mammalian cells, including regulation of ion transport and osmoregulation. The production and secretion of saliva involve transepithelial ion transport, thereby making the plasma-like primary saliva hypotonic before secretion. Therefore, it is plausible to suggest modulation of salivary taurine by muscarinic agents that affect salivary gland function. One of the objectives of this study was to determine tissue content and localization of taurine in the submandibular gland of the rat. Further, we determined whether treatment with muscarinic drugs that either increase (e.g., pilocarpine) or decrease (e.g., propantheline) saliva secretion affects the submandibular gland taurine content. The results indicate that the submandibular gland contains an appreciable amount of taurine (8,9 ± 0.3 μmoles/g wet wt). Further, acute treatment of the rats with either of the muscarinic drugs did not significantly affect tissue taurine content compared to the control group. By contrast, chronic treatment with propantheline, but not pilocarpine, reduced the tissue content of taurine compared to the control rats (p<0.05). Utilizing light microscopic immunohistochemical techniques, intense immunoreactivity was found primarily in the striated ducts of the submandibular gland. Neither pilocarpine nor propantheline treatment led to differential distribution of immunoreactivity in this tissue. In conclusion, the submandibular gland contains an appreciable amount of taurine, primarily in the striated ducts, that can be decreased by chronic muscarinic receptor blockade.
- Salivary gland
ASJC Scopus subject areas