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The salivary glands in mammals are exocrine glands that produce saliva. In other taxa such as insects, salivary glands are often used to produce biologically important proteins such as silk or glues. Salivary glands have proven to be very useful to students of genetics due to the occurrence of polytene chromosomes that are common in the salivary gland cells of many Diptera.
A summary is provided in the following table.
The glands are enclosed in a capsule of connective tissue and internally divided into lobules. Blood vessels and nerves enter the glands at the hilum and gradually branch out into the lobules.
There are 3 main types of cells that are found in the major salivary glands:
In the duct system, the lumens formed by the secretory cells empty into intercalated ducts, which in turn join to form striated ducts. These drain into ducts situated between the lobes of the gland (called interlobar ducts or excretory ducts).
The main duct of the salivary glands ultimately empties into the mouth. Salivary glands release saliva that dilutes the acid found in ones stomach.
Role in disease
Salivary duct calculus may cause blockage of the ducts, causing pain and swelling of the gland.
Tumors of the salivary glands may occur. These are usually benign, but may be malignant. The most common type of benign tumor is pleomorphic adenoma, followed by Warthin's tumor. The most common malignant tumor is mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
A sialogram is a radiocontrast study of a salivary duct.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Salivary_gland". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|