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Taking a saliva sample for testing

Saliva (also referred to as spit , spittle or slobber) is the watery and usually frothy substance produced in the mouths of humans and most other animals. Saliva is produced in and secreted from the salivary glands. Human saliva is composed of 98% water, while the other 2% consists of other compounds such as electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes.[1] As part of the initial process of food digestion, the enzymes in the saliva break down some of the starch and fat in the food at the molecular level. Saliva also breaks down food caught in the teeth, protecting them from bacteria that cause decay. Furthermore, saliva lubricates and protects the teeth, the tongue, and the tender tissues inside the mouth. Saliva also plays an important role in tasting food by trapping thiols produced from odourless food compounds by anaerobic bacteria living in the mouth.[2]

Various species have evolved special uses for saliva that go beyond predigestion. Some swifts use their gummy saliva to build their nests. Some Aerodramus swiftlet nests are made only from saliva and used to make bird's nest soup.[3] Cobras, vipers, and certain other members of the venom clade hunt with venomous saliva injected by fangs. Some arthropods, such as spiders and caterpillars, create thread from salivary glands.

Contents

Functions

Digestion

The digestive functions of saliva include moistening food and helping to create a food bolus, so it can be swallowed easily. Saliva contains the enzyme amylase that breaks some cooked starch down into sugar. Thus, digestion of food begins in the mouth. Salivary glands also secrete salivary lipase (a more potent form of lipase) to start fat digestion. Lipase has great role in fat digestion in new-born as their pancreatic lipase will develop later.[4] It also has a protective function for the teeth to prevent bacteria build-up and to help wash away food particles.

Disinfectants

A common belief is that saliva contained in the mouth has natural disinfectants, which leads people to believe it is beneficial to "lick their wounds". Researchers at the University of Florida at Gainesville have discovered a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) in the saliva of mice. Wounds doused with NGF healed twice as fast as untreated and unlicked wounds; therefore, saliva can help to heal wounds in some species. NGF has not been found in human saliva; however, researchers find human saliva contains such antibacterial agents as secretory IgA, lactoferrin, lysosyme and peroxidase.[5] It has not been shown that human licking of wounds disinfects them, but licking is likely to help clean the wound by removing larger contaminants such as dirt and may help to directly remove infective bodies by brushing them away. Therefore, licking would be a way of wiping off pathogens, useful if clean water is not available to the animal or person.

The mouth of animals is the habitat of many bacteria, some pathogenic. Some diseases, such as herpes, can be transmitted through the mouth. Animal (including human) bites are routinely treated with systemic antibiotics because of the risk of septicemia.

Recent research suggests that the saliva of birds is a better indicator of avian influenza than are faecal samples.[6]

Hormonal function

Saliva secretes Gustin hormone which is thought to play a role in the development of taste buds.

Non-physiological use

Saliva has anti-fog functions. Scuba divers commonly smear a thin layer of saliva on the inside surface of their goggles to prevent fogging.

Saliva is an effective cleaning agent used in art conservation. Cotton swabs coated with saliva are rolled across a painting's surface to delicately remove thin layers of dirt that may accumulate.[7]

Iodine in salivary glands and oral health

The trophic, antioxidant and apoptosis-inductor actions and the presumed anti-tumour activity of iodide might also be important for prevention of oral and salivary glands diseases.

Stimulation

The production of saliva is stimulated both by the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic.[8]

The saliva stimulated by sympathetic innervation is thicker, and saliva stimulated parasympathetically is more watery.

Parasympathetic stimulation leads to acetylcholine (ACh) release onto the salivary acinar cells. ACh binds to muscarinic receptors and causes an increased intracellular calcium ion concentration (through the IP3/DAG second messenger system). Increased calcium causes vesicles within the cells to fuse with the apical cell membrane leading to secretion formation. ACh also causes the salivary gland to release kallikrein, an enzyme that converts kininogen to lysyl-bradykinin. Lysyl-bradykinin acts upons blood vessels and capillaries of the salivary gland to generate vasodilation and increased capillary permeability respectively. The resulting increased blood flow to the acinar allows production of more saliva. Lastly, both parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous stimulation can lead to myoepitheilium contraction which causes the expulsion of secretions from the secretory acinus into the ducts and eventually to the oral cavity.

Daily salivary output

There is much debate about the amount of saliva that is produced in a healthy person per day; estimates range from 0.75 to 1.5 liters per day while it is generally accepted that during sleep the amount drops to almost zero. In humans, the sub-mandibular gland contributes around 70-75% of secretion, while the parotid gland secretes about 20-25 % and small amounts are secreted from the other salivary glands.

Contents

Produced in salivary glands, human saliva is 98% water, but it contains many important substances, including electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds and various enzymes.[1]

It is a fluid containing:

Different reagents used to determine the content of saliva \1. Molisch test gives a positive result of purple color that is costituent to the presence of carbohydrates

Notes

  1. ^ a b Physiology at MCG 6/6ch4/s6ch4_6
  2. ^ Christian Starkenmann, Benedicte Le Calvé, Yvan Niclass, Isabelle Cayeux, Sabine Beccucci, and Myriam Troccaz. Olfactory Perception of Cysteine−S-Conjugates from Fruits and Vegetables. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008; 56 (20): 9575-9580 DOI: 10.1021/jf801873h
  3. ^ Marcone, M. F. (2005). "Characterization of the edible bird's nest the Caviar of the East." Food Research International 38:1125–1134. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2005.02.008 Abstract retrieved 12 Nov 2007
  4. ^ Maton, Anthea; Jean Hopkins, Charles William McLaughlin, Susan Johnson, Maryanna Quon Warner, David LaHart, Jill D. Wright (1993). Human Biology and Health. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-981176-1.  
  5. ^ Jorma Tenovuo: Antimicrobial Agents in Saliva—Protection for the Whole Body. Journal of Dental Research 2002, 81(12):807-809
  6. ^ "Saliva swabs for bird flu virus more effective than faecal samples" German Press Agency December 11, 2006 Retrieved 13 November 2007
  7. ^ "Techniques for Cleaning Acrylic". Golden Artist Colors. http://www.goldenpaints.com/justpaint/jp5article2.php. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  8. ^ Physiology at MCG 6/6ch4/s6ch4_7
  9. ^ a b c d Page 928 in: Walter F., PhD. Boron (2003). Medical Physiology: A Cellular And Molecular Approaoch. Elsevier/Saunders. pp. 1300. ISBN 1-4160-2328-3.  

References

  • Venturi S, Venturi M. (2009). Iodine in evolution of salivary glands and in oral health. Nutrition and Health. 20 :119–134. PMID: 19835108
  • Bahar, G., Feinmesser, R., Shpitzer, T., Popovtzer, A. and Nagler, R.M. (2007). Salivary analysis in oral cancer patients: DNA and protein oxidation, reactive nitrogen species, and antioxidant profile. Cancer, 109, 54–9.
  • Banerjee, R.K., Bose, A.K., Chakraborty, T.K., de, S.K. and Datta, A.G. (1985). Peroxidase-catalysed iodotyrosine formation in dispersed cells of mouse extrathyroidal tissues. J Endocrinol. 2, 159–65.
  • Banerjee, R.K. and datta, A.G. (1986). Salivary peroxidases. Mol Cell Biochem, 70, 21-9.
  • Bartelstone, H. J. (1951). Radioiodine penetration through intact enamel with uptake by bloodstream and thyroid gland. J Dent Res. 5 :728–33.
  • Bartelstone, H.J., Mandel, I.D., Oshry, E. and Seidlin, S.M. (1947). Use of radioactive iodine as a tracer in the Study of the Physiology of teeth. Science. 106, 132.

External links


Simple English

Saliva is the watery substance made in the mouths of humans and some animals. Saliva begins digesting food in the mouth, and moistens food to make swallowing easier. Saliva is sometimes called "spit."

It can be used as a defense by animals such as Llamas, but "spitting" at a nasty, mean predator.

Spit comes out people's mouths.

Spit is thought to be able to help wounds heal faster.








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