It has been suggested that central norepinephrine (NE) activity may be inferred from increases in salivary alpha-amylase (SAA), but data in favor of this proposition are limited. We administered 40 mg of atomoxetine, a selective NE transporter blocker that increases central NE levels, to 24 healthy adult participants in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design. Atomoxetine administration significantly increased SAA secretion and concentrations at 75–180 min after treatment (more than doubling baseline levels). Consistent with evidence that elevation in central NE is a co-determinant of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, salivary cortisol also approximately doubled at the same time points. Moreover, changes in salivary cortisol positively correlated with SAA (0.44 < rho < 0.56), bolstering the position that the origin of the changes in SAA reflect central NE. This work points toward the potential value of SAA as an inexpensive and non-invasive procedure to obtain information about activation of the central NE system.
Warren, C. M., van den Brink, R. L., Nieuwenhuis, S., & Bosch, J. A. (2017). Atomoxetine increases salivary alpha amylase. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 78, 233-236.