Salivary Biomarkers

A History of Saliva Testing

Saliva has been used in diagnostics for more than 2,000 years1. Analyses of the properties of saliva using biochemical and physiological methodologies can be traced back to over a century ago, at least2. The use of saliva for health and diagnosis has recently received renewed interest because of the advantages saliva offers over other sample types3,4. Saliva testing is particularly well-suited for determination of stress and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function5.

Advantages of Using Saliva for Biomarker Analysis

  • Easy Collection: While blood sampling requires highly-trained personnel, saliva procurement can be done by anyone, including self-collection.
  • Simple Processing: Saliva does not clot and requires less manipulation than blood to prepare, ship and store.
  • Broad Applicability: Saliva contains a wide array of key, active, pathophysiologic biomarkers.

Utility of Saliva as a Sample Type for Biomarker Analysis

Saliva testing is currently used to screen for numerous conditions including cardiovascular, endocrine, cancer, parasitic, allergic and infectious diseases, as well as stress and reproductive conditions. Saliva is also rapidly replacing serum as the gold standard for hormonal and adrenal evaluation, because saliva contains active, bioavailable hormones rather than those bound to protein. Clinically, it is far more relevant to test bioavailable hormones, especially when evaluating markers of stress and metabolism.

Examples of Salivary Biomarkers

Hormones/Small Molecules
  • Monitoring the role of androgens, corticosteroids and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in humans and animals
  • Measuring markers of stress and oxidative stress
Nucleic Acids: DNA/RNA
  • Standard genotyping
  • Immunoglobulins for diagnosing viruses
  • Metabolites for diagnosing periodontitis, stress, oxidative stress

Specific Diagnostic Applications of Saliva

  • Bacterial Infection: By monitoring the presence of antibodies to microorganisms found in saliva and oral cavity
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Determination of acute inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein as a marker of cardiovascular disease risk status
  • Cystic Fibrosis: Saliva of CF patients contain increased calcium and phosphate levels, urea and uric acid and abnormally elevated levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
  • Diabetes Mellitus: Altered levels of IgA, salivary peroxidase, glucose content, K, salivary total protein and amylase
  • Oral Mucosal Disease: Altered levels of oxidative stress markers like hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide
  • Viral Diseases: Detection of virus RNA or diagnosis based on the presence of IgM/IgA antibodies in saliva
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Altered concentrations of NaCl, IgA, IgG, lactoferrin, inflammatory mediators such as PGE2, TXB2, Interleukin-6, etc.

Handling Saliva Samples for Biomarker Analysis

  • Processing and storage: Samples can be easily collected in sterile tubes by passive drool or by using absorbent pads to minimize stress-related to sample collection. Saliva can be stored at 4°C for steroid hormone analysis or frozen for less stable molecules like peptides.
  • Saliva sample handling protocol
  • Sample processing protocol videos

We Can Measure Your Saliva Samples!

Send your samples to us and take advantage of our Sample Testing Services.

Our Saliva-Validated Assays

Arbor Assays ELISA kits have been validated for use with saliva for a variety of relevant biomarkers. Our assays are a cost-effective, high-quality alternative to other assay platforms and are available immediately.


Product Catalog #
Androstenedione ELISA Kit
K070-H1 Androstenedione ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K070-H5 Androstenedione ELISA Kit, 5 Plates
Corticosterone ELISA Kit
K014-H1 Corticosterone ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K014-H5 Corticosterone ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cortisol ELISA Kit
K003-H1 Cortisol ELISA Kit, 1 Strip-Well Plate
K003-H5 Cortisol ELISA Kit, 5 Strip-Well Plate
K003-H1W Cortisol ELISA Kit, 1 Solid Plate
K003-H5W Cortisol ELISA Kit, 5 Solid Plate
Cortisone Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit
K017-C1 Cortisone Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K017-C5 Cortisone Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cortisone ELISA Kit
K017-H1 Cortisone ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K017-H5 Cortisone ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cyclic AMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit
K019-C1 Cyclic AMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K019-C5 Cyclic AMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cyclic AMP Direct ELISA Kit
K019-H1 Cyclic AMP Direct ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K019-H5 Cyclic AMP Direct ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cyclic GMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit
K020-C1 Cyclic GMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K020-C5 Cyclic GMP Direct Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 5 Plate

Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit
K020-H1 Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K020-H5 Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit – Improved Sensitivity
K065-H1 Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K065-H5 Cyclic GMP Direct ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
K054-H1 DHEA-S ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K054-H5 DHEA-S ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
DNA Damage ELISA Kit
K059-H1 DNA Damage ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K059-H5 DNA Damage ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Epiandrosterone ELISA Kit
K063-H1 Epiandrosterone ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K063-H5 Epiandrosterone ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Estrone ELISA Kit
K031-H1 Estrone ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K031-H5 Estrone ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
FRAP™ (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power) Detection Kit
K043-H1 FRAP™ (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power) Detection Kit, 2-plate
Levonorgestrel (LNG) ELISA Kit
K058-H1 Levonorgestrel (LNG) ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K058-H5 Levonorgestrel (LNG) ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Myeloperoxidase (MPO) Human ELISA Kit
K060-H1 Myeloperoxidase (MPO) ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
Nitric Oxide (NO) Colorimetric Detection Kit
K023-H1 Nitric Oxide Colorimetric Detection Kit, 2 Plate
Oxytocin Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit
K048-C1 Oxytocin Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K048-C5 Oxytocin Chemiluminescent ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Oxytocin ELISA Kit
K048-H1 Oxytocin ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K048-H5 Oxytocin ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
PGE2 Multi-Format ELISA Kit
K051-H1 PGE2 Multi-Format ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K051-H5 PGE2 Multi-Format ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Pregnanediol-3-Glucuronide (PDG) ELISA Kit
K037-H1 Pregnanediol-3-Glucuronide (PDG) ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K037-H5 Pregnanediol-3-Glucuronide (PDG) ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Testosterone ELISA Kit
K032-H1 Testosterone ELISA Kit, 1 Plate
K032-H5 Testosterone ELISA Kit, 5 Plate
Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Colorimetric Detection Kit
K024-H1 Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Colorimetric Detection Kit, 2 Plate
K024-H5 Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Colorimetric Detection Kit, 10 Plate
  1. Greabu, M., et al. (2009). Saliva–a diagnostic window to the body, both in health and in disease. Journal of Medicine and Life2(2), 124-132.
  2. Farnaud, S.J., et al. (2010). Saliva: Physiology and diagnostic potential in health and disease. Scientific World Journal, 10, 434–56.
  3. Streckfus C.F., & Bigler, L.R. (2002). Saliva as a diagnostic fluid. Oral Diseases, 8(2), 69–76.
  4. Rathnayake, N., et al. (2013). Salivary biomarkers for detection of systemic diseases. PLoS ONE, 8(4), e61356.
  5. Raff, H. (2009). Utility of salivary cortisol measurements in Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal insufficiency. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism94(10), 3647-3655.

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