Circadian rhythms in human salivary flow rate and composition

J Physiol. 1972 Feb;220(3):529-45. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1972.sp009721.


1. Unstimulated whole saliva and parotid saliva stimulated at a constant flow rate of 1.0 ml./min were collected from eight subjects at about 07.00, 11.00, 14.00, 17.00 and 22.00 hr and oral temperature was recorded several times daily for time spans of between 4 and 26 days. A least-squares cosine wave was fitted to the data to test for the presence and characteristics of circadian rhythms.2. Estimates of mean level, amplitude, acrophase and period were obtained for different components and the results were subjected to cosinor analysis.3. Unstimulated whole saliva showed significant circadian rhythms in flow rate and in the concentrations of sodium and chloride but not in protein, potassium, calcium, phosphate or urea.4. Stimulated parotid saliva showed significant circadian rhythms in the concentrations of protein, sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride but not in phosphate or urea5. Oral temperature showed a circadian rhythm which, like the salivary rhythms, was of a 24.0 hr periodicity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Chlorides / analysis
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Colorimetry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parotid Gland / metabolism
  • Phosphates / analysis
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Saliva* / analysis
  • Salivation*
  • Secretory Rate
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Urea / analysis


  • Chlorides
  • Phosphates
  • Proteins
  • Urea
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium