Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Saliva Samples Offer Potential Alternative To Blood Testing

Date:
October 6, 2004
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
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.

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.”

The National Institutes of Health provided funding for this study.

###

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Saliva Samples Offer Potential Alternative To Blood Testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041006083824.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2004, October 6). Saliva Samples Offer Potential Alternative To Blood Testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041006083824.htm
American Chemical Society. "Saliva Samples Offer Potential Alternative To Blood Testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041006083824.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech

New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry. This year's show featured the latest in high technology, and automotive bling. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) Google has filed for a patent to develop contact lenses capable of taking photos. The company describes possible benefits to blind people. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins