Saliva NMR metabolomics: Analytical issues in pediatric oral health research


Objectives Saliva metabolome is a promising diagnostic tool concerning oral and systemic diseases. We aimed at establishing a suitable protocol for saliva collection and gauging the relative impacts of gender, dentition stage, and caries on the saliva metabolome of a small children cohort. Subjects and methods A nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics cross-sectional study of children saliva (n = 38) compared the effects of: (a) stimulation and unstimulation conditions, and (b) collection through passive drool and using an absorbing device. Multivariate and univariate statistical analyses were applied to evaluate such effects and those related to gender, dentition stage and caries. Results No significant differences were found between unstimulated and stimulated saliva, and the former was used for subsequent studies. Swab collection induced significant changes in sample composition, indicating passive drool as preferential. The impacts of gender and dentition stage were not significant compared to that of caries, which induced variations in the levels of 21 metabolites. These comprised amino acids and monosaccharides observed for the first time to our knowledge regarding children caries, suggesting protein hydrolysis and deglycosylation. Conclusions Unstimulated passive drool saliva metabolome may carry a caries signature.



subject category

Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine


Pereira, JL; Duarte, D; Carneiro, TJ; Ferreira, S; Cunha, B; Soares, D; Costa, AL; Gil, AM

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