Salivary glands

Author: Sally Tanakchi (see Authors page)
Editor: F. Zahra Aly, M.D., Ph.D.

Revised: 9 March 2018, last major update September 2015

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Saliva[TI] salivary glands[TI]
Cite this page: Tanakchi, S. Saliva. website. Accessed March 23rd, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Formed by acinar cells
  • High in amylase if secreted by serous glands
  • High in sialomucin (neutral and acid) if secreted by mucous glands
  • Ducts modify secretions by actively absorbing Na and secreting K and HCO3
  • Major component of saliva is water (99.5%), while the remainder consisting of electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, IgA and lysozymes
  • pH ranges between 6.2 - 7.4
  • Saliva may be used for diagnostic testing, because it is composed of various molecules that are filtered, processed and secreted from the vasculature that nourish the salivary glands (Am J Dent 2009;22:241)
Diagrams / tables

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Mechanism of
molecular transport
from serum into
salivary gland ducts