α-amylase cleaves the α(1-4)glycosidic linkages of amylose to yield maltose molecules (disaccharides of α-glucose).
Increased plasma levels in humans are found in:
The test for amylase is easy to perform and has been the main test for pancreatitis. Labs[?] will usually measure either pancreatic amylase, or total amylase. If only pancreatic amylase is measured, an increase will not be noted with mumps or other salivary gland trauma.
Unfortunately, due to amylase's small size, timing is critical when sampling blood for this measurement. Blood should preferably be taken soon after a bout of pancreatitis pain, otherwise it is excreted rapidly by the kidneys.