Spaceflight provides a unique opportunity to study how physiologic responses are influenced by the external environment. Microgravity has been shown to alter the function of a number of tissues and organ systems. Very little, however, is known about how microgravity affects the oral cavity. The rodent model is useful for study in that their salivary gland morphology and physiology is similar to that of humans. Useful also is the fact that saliva, a product of the salivary glands with a major role in maintaining oral health, can be easily collected in humans whereas the glands can be studied in experimental animals. Our working hypothesis is that expression of secretory proteins in saliva will respond to microgravity and will be indicative of the nature of physiologic reactions to travel in space. This study was designed to determine which components of the salivary proteome are altered in mice flown on the US space shuttle missions and to determine if a subset with predictive value can be identified using microscopy and biochemistry methods. The results showed that the expression of secretory proteins associated with beta-adrenergic hormone regulated responses and mediated via the cyclic AMP pathway was significantly altered, whereas that of a number of unrelated proteins was not. The findings are potentially applicable to designing a biochemical test system whereby specific salivary proteins can be biomarkers for stress associated with travel in space and eventually for monitoring responses to conditions on earth.