Autoantibodies in Sjögren's syndrome patients acutely inhibit muscarinic receptor function

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Autoantibodies from the sera of Sjögren's syndrome patients (SS IgG) have been suggested to inhibit muscarinic receptor function. However, the acute nature of such an inhibitory effect remains controversial. In this study, we investigated the acute effects of SS IgG on muscarinic receptor function in human submandibular gland (HSG) cells.


The effects of autoantibodies on muscarinic receptor function were studied using microspectrofluorimetry, whole-cell patch clamp, immunofluorescence confocal microscopy, and a co-immunoprecipitation assay.


Carbachol (CCh) was found to consistently increase intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and activate K+current in HSG cells. However, pretreatment of the cells with SS IgG for 5 or 30 min significantly attenuated these responses, with a substantially more prominent effect after 30 min of treatment. Like CCh, adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) also increased [Ca2+]i and activated K+currents in HSG cells, although pretreatment with SS IgG did not affect the cellular response to ATP. CCh was found to reorganize α-fodrin in HSG cells in a Ca2+-dependent manner. However, pretreatment with SS IgG prevented the cytoskeletal reorganization of α-fodrin induced by CCh.


SS IgG acutely and reversibly inhibited muscarinic receptor function, thereby inhibiting the Ca2+mobilization necessary for the activation of K+currents and α-fodrin reorganization in HSG cells.


Oral Diseases (2012) 18, 132–139

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