Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saliva samples offer potential alternative to blood testing

05.10.2004


Spitting into a cup or licking a diagnostic test strip could someday be an attractive alternative to having your blood drawn at the doctor’s office. Researchers have identified the largest number of proteins to date in human saliva, a preliminary finding that could pave the way for more diagnostic tests based on saliva samples. Such tests show promise as a faster, cheaper and potentially safer diagnostic method than blood sampling, they say.



“There is a growing interest in saliva as a diagnostic fluid, due to its relatively simple and minimally invasive collection,” says study leader Phillip A. Wilmarth, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry in Portland, Ore. “The same proteins present in blood are also present in saliva from fluid leakage at the gum line. It is considerably easier, safer and more economical to collect saliva than to draw blood, especially for children and elderly patients.”

The study of salivary proteins is described in the Oct. 11 print issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.


While saliva tests won’t replace blood tests for all diagnostic applications, says Wilmarth, in the future they could prove to be a potentially life-saving alternative to detect diseases where early diagnosis is critical, such as certain cancers. Saliva collection also may be the only practical way to screen large numbers of patients in developing nations, the researcher adds.

Diagnostic assays using saliva are a relatively new but growing technology. This past spring, the FDA approved the first HIV test based on saliva rather than blood. Several other tests are in the pipeline for uses ranging from pregnancy testing to detection of chemicals such as alcohol and other drugs. One of the hurdles in developing new tests is a lack of understanding of the human proteome, or the study of large sets of proteins, particularly those that can serve as biomarkers for the presence of disease.

Most proteome studies have focused on specific tissues and human blood samples, but the current study represents one of only a few studies to date of the salivary proteome. “We’re just starting to map the saliva proteome,” Wilmarth says. “Not much is known yet, but more should be known in the near future.”

Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis in combination with mass spectrometry, other researchers were able to identify up to 28 proteins in saliva, including 19 proteins only found in saliva and nine proteins also present in blood serum. The most important biomarkers for disease diagnosis are typically serum-derived proteins, the researcher adds.

In an effort to identify more serum proteins, which are a minor component of saliva, Wilmarth and his associates used a more sensitive analytical technique called two-dimensional liquid chromatography, combined with highly sensitive mass spectrometry. Using a single saliva sample from a healthy, nonsmoking male subject, the researchers were able to identify 102 proteins, including 35 salivary proteins and 67 common serum proteins. The study represents the first time the analytical technique has been applied to saliva, the researcher says.

“The number of serum proteins detected in this work is still far short of the number of proteins routinely seen in blood serum studies [800-1600 proteins], but it is a significant step toward identifying serum biomarkers in saliva,” Wilmarth says. Identifying all of the serum proteins present in saliva could take many more years, he estimates.

With advances in instrumentation, he predicts that the number of serum proteins identified in saliva will increase significantly, although it will probably never match the number found in blood, mainly because serum proteins are only a tiny part of saliva, described as a dilute, watery-solution containing electrolytes, minerals, buffers, as well as proteins.

Blood tests are a well-established, proven methodology, and it may take some time before saliva tests can become as reliable as serum tests, Wilmarth notes. “In the future, I think consumers can look forward to more saliva-based tests,” Wilmarth says. “It may make diagnostics as simple as licking the back of a test strip, mailing it in and getting your results. That’s a lot easier than getting stuck with needles and it’s potentially safer for health care workers.”

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>