A COMPREHENSIVE examination of the composition of the separately collected parotid and submaxillary secretions affords a convenient means of studying exocrine gland function in cystic fibrosis of the pancreas. Deviations in composition could arise from alterations in gland structure (hypertrophy, hyperplasia), function (metabolism, protein synthesis, ion transport, cell permeability), neural regulation, or combinations thereof. Elucidation of the aberrant mechanisms responsible for salivary gland abnormality could provide meaningful clues to the basic pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis.
Studies on parotid saliva have yielded conflicting results. Several investigators have reported elevations in sodium, chloride, and flow rate in cystic fibrosis patients.1-5 Previous reports from this laboratory on parotid saliva indicated that although "there was a tendency for electrolyte values to be higher in a group of patients with cystic fibrosis of the pancreas, only in the case of inorganic phosphorus, however, was this elevation statistically significant."6 Parotid glycoproteins were not found