Salivary glands

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

Revised: 21 October 2015, last major update September 2015

Copyright: (c) 2002-2015,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Saliva [title] salivary glands
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
  • The major component of saliva is water (99.5%), while the remainder consisting of electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, IgA and lysozymes
  • The 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)
    Missing Image

    Mechanism of molecular transport from serum into salivary gland ducts