The parotid gland participates in the digestive process by providing fluid, electrolytes and enzymes that facilitate the onset of digestion. Neurotransmitters, hormones and biologically active peptides regulate its activity. The autonomic system is the main regulatory mechanism of the gland. Sympathetic stimulation induces amylase release through β1-receptor activation and few fluid secretion by α1-receptor activation. The parasympathetic system controls basal activity of the gland acting on M1 and M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and induces the secretion of fluid saliva rich in electrolytes through the modulation of ion channels and the Na+-K+-ATPase activity. In addition, its activation induces amylase release. The mechanisms involved in amylase secretion by isoproterenol and carbachol, as well as the mechanism of the cholinergic regulation of Na+-K+-ATPase activity and the changes observed after orchiectomy, are the scope of this review.

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