Parotid saliva was collected from 32 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 10 with systemic lupus erythematosus, three with mixed connective tissue disease, 12 with progressive systemic sclerosis, two with primary Sjögren's syndrome, and four with Raynaud's syndrome. Tissue kallikreins were measured by radioimmunoassay, and saliva samples were subjected to isoelectric focusing followed by immunoblotting or silver staining. The results showed that the saliva of patients with connective tissue diseases contained increased amounts of immunoreactive tissue kallikrein. In addition, there was an increase in the multiple forms of anionic tissue kallikreins, resulting mainly from a shift in their distribution towards that of higher sialic acid content and lower isoelectric point. These changes were most obvious in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Novel or unusual glycosylation may explain the occurrence of increased amounts of anionic salivary proteins in connective tissue diseases.
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