Many biomarkers and hormones can be analyzed reliably in saliva.
Our laboratory specializes in the following biomarkers, but it is possible to analyze more markers, if needed.

  • Cortisol

    • Main glucocorticoid, produced in the adrenal glands
    • production is regulated by the circadian rhythm (peaks in the morning, decreases to its lowest point in the night)
    • increases unrelated to the circadian rhythm as a reaction on stress
    • salivary cortisol can be correlated reliably with serum cortisol levels
  • Alpha-Amylase (Salivary Amylase)

    • digestive enzyme, produced in the salivary glands inside the mouth
    • circadian rhythm (decreases the first 60 minutes after awakening, increases over the span of the day)
    • production increases steadily through psychic and physical stress by communicating with the autonomous nervous system (ANS)
    • potential substitute for ANS-activation
    • flow rate dependent

    • Testosterone

      • anabolic steroid hormone
      • circadian rhythm (highest level in the morning, lowest level on midnight)
      • used to evaluate the androgenous state of men and to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome and breast cancer in women
      • shows high serum-saliva-correlation in men, but only average in women
      • Estradiol

        • the most active naturally secreted estrogenic steroid hormone
        • plays an important part in sexual and reproductive propagation
        • seems to influence individual differences in cognitive and socio-emotional processes, as well as psychopathology
      • Progesterone

        • steroid hormone, important for ovulation, fertility, pregnancy and menopause
        • progenitor for many other steroid hormones
        • also involved in brain development
        • DHEA-S

          • sulfated version of the human steroid DHEA, primarily produced in the adrenal glands in reaction to ACTH
          • primarily functions as a precursor molecule
          • it is assumed that there is a connection to mental and physical stressors, psychotic disorders and behavioral syndromes
          • Results have to be corrected according to flow rate
        • Melatonin

          • soporific neuro-hormone controlling the circadian rhythm
          • epiphyseal production as a reaction to stimuli of light and darkness
          • sleep disorders may result in loss of concentration and memory, decreased productivity and decreased performance in sports

        Many other hormones and biomarkers (including oxytocin, vasopressin) can be analysed in our laboratory or in collaboration with partner labs.
        We are happy to advise you. 

        Saliva of animals

        The Saliva Lab Trier specializes not only in analyzing different biomarkers in human saliva samples, but also in assessing hormones in animal saliva samples. Of great interest ist the assessment of the stress hormone cortisol in animal saliva, relieving the need for expensive and invasive collection of blood. In contrast to blood, in saliva free, active hormones can be measured, correlating to current hormonal activity. In addition, non-medical staff at several time points can collect saliva samples, a great advantage when carrying out daily or dynamic hormone profiles. Depending on the question different animals are used in animal research. In livestock such as cattle or pigs the quality of meat can suffer through stress-related issues.

        The burden of a greater amount of milking, which in itself is known to be straining on tissue, could be proven by measuring cortisol. Another interesting field of research could be the application of saliva analysis in breeding, especially horses and dogs, for example police dogs.  In today's everyday life, dogs are subjected to permanent stressful situations.
        In addition to loud traffic and large crowd, a performance-related stressor with over- or under-exertion can also burden the dog and trigger aggression behavior. At the same time, there is a growing demand for specialized and well-trained dogs (blind dogs, dogs for the detection of dangerous substances, police dogs). For effective training, it is important to select and train only dogs with suitable personal characteristics. Especially the ability to deal with stressful situations is crucial. In dogs, too, the cortisol concentration caused by a stress situation increases so that cortisol can be used as a marker for the detection of stress. In horses there are different insights, whether and how much training can trigger stress. Whether or not a circadian rhythm is present in horses is also controversially discussed in the literature. That the animal transport triggered stress is, however, unchallenged and could be associated by the cortisol increase with the length of the transport.

        In our laboratory we use two different methods of assessment:

        Competitive ELISA

        (using the example of cortisol)

        In case of the competetive ELISA an unmarked primary anti-body is ligated on the microtiter plate. The standard, respectively the samples to be analyzed, compete with an antigen-conjugate for the antibody’s binding site. The antigen-conjugate is bonded to an enzyme which transforms a colorless reagent into a colored product. By adding acid this transformation is stopped and the optical density is measured in a photometer with defined wave length. The concentration of the sought antigen and the measured signal strength are inversely proportional to each other, meaning the less strength the signal has, the more concentrated the sample is.

        Kinetic assay

        (using the example of  α-Amylase)

        The kinetic method uses the enzyme activity of the enzyme to be analyzed. In the beginning of the test a substrate coupled with maltotrise is implemented. The product of this hydrolysis can be measured photometric by defined wave length. In this case the amount of  α-Amylase increases in direct proportion to the increase in absorption.

        The sensitivity of the used assays (Salimetrics, USA) can be found in the following list:

        (the smallest concentration, that can be distinguished from 0)
        Cortisol0.19 nmol/L
        Alpha-Amylase2.0 U/mL
        Estradiol0.1 pg/mL
        Progesterone0.5 pg/mL
        Testosterone1.0 pg/mL
        DHEA-S43.0 pg/mL
        Melatonin1.37 pg/mL

        Besides Assays from Salimetrics, USA our laboratory can offer the use of diagnostic assays of different manufacturers to analyse your saliva samples, on demand.