Objectives: The aim of the present work was to study the effect of long-term cyclosporine (CSA) administration on norepinephrine (NE) metabolism and adrenergic-evoked secretion in the rat submandibular gland (SMG). Methods: Dose-response curves to adrenergic agonists (methoxamine, isoproterenol, NE) were performed in control and CSA (10 and 30 mg/kg every 2 days for 1 month)-treated rats after SMG duct cannulation. In SMG tissue neuronal NE uptake, release, synthesis and endogenous content were determined. In addition phosphoinositide intracellular signaling was also investigated. Results: CSA administration caused an increase in salivary secretion evoked by methoxamine (α-adrenergic agonist) and NE but failed to modify salivation evoked by β-adrenergic stimulation (isoproterenol). Long-term CSA administration decreased NE release and synthesis whereas it enhanced the amine uptake and phosphoinositide hydrolysis in the SMG. Conclusions: The administration of CSA for 30 days induced salivary gland sensitization likely mediated by diminished adrenergic input. Present results suggest that the decreased sympathetic activity evoked by long-term CSA administration in the rat SMG may lead to sensitization of the gland supported by increased phosphoinositide hydrolysis and enhanced adrenergic-evoked salivation.

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