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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 1995;6(2):161-75.

Biochemical composition of human saliva in relation to other mucosal fluids.

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Department of Oral Biochemistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands.


This paper describes several salivary components and their distribution in other mucosal secretions. Histatins are polypeptides which possess exceptional anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activities, but are nevertheless present only in saliva. Proline-rich proteins (PRPs) are members of a closely related family, of which the acidic PRPs are found solely in saliva, whereas the basic PRPs are also found in other secretions. Mucins are a group of glycoproteins that contribute to the visco-elastic character of the mucosal secretions. Despite the similarities in their structure and behavior, mucins have distinct tissue distributions and amino acid sequences. Other salivary proteins are present in one or more mucosal secretions. Lysozyme is an example of a component belonging to an ancient self-defense system, whereas secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) is the secreted part of a sophisticated adaptive immune system. Cystatins are closely related proteins which belong to a multigene family. Alpha-Amylase is a component that is believed to play a specific role in digestion, but is nevertheless present in several body fluids. Kallikrein and albumin are components of blood plasma. But whereas albumin diffuses into the different mucosal secretions, kallikrein is secreted specifically by the mucosal glands. The presence of these proteins specifically in saliva, or their distribution in other mucosal secretions as well, may provide important clues with respect to the physiology of those proteins in the oral cavity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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