α-Amylase is an enzyme from pancreatic or salivary origin that hydrolyses 1,4-α-glucosidic bonds, thus helping for starch digestion.
Analysis of serum amylase is mainly used in the diagnosis of the pancreatic diseases (acute or chronic pancreatitis and their complications, carcinoma). During acute pancreatitis, a transitory increase of serum amylase is observed, a peak being reached approximately 12h after the beginning, the activity returning to the normal after 3 or 4 days. However, a serum amylase increase is also
observed in other intra-abdominal pathologies, ovary or lung cancers, salivary gland lesions, acute alcoholism, renal insufficiency
or macroamylasemia (presence of a complex amylase-IgG not filtered by the glomerulus).