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Salivary total Immunoglobulin G as a surrogate marker of oral immune activity in salivary bioscience research


The integration of salivary biomeasures in biobehavioral, psychophysiological, and clinical research has greatly expanded our ability to study the biopsychosocial processes underlying health. Much of this research, however, has failed to adequately assess and adjust for the impact of oral immune activity on salivary biomeasure concentrations and associations with serum levels. Aiming to improve the validity and reliability of salivary biomeasure data, we examine salivary total Immunoglobulin G (IgG) as a potential surrogate marker of oral inflammation and immune activity. During a single study visit in Baltimore, Maryland, healthy young adult participants provided matched blood and saliva samples (N=99; age 18-37 years, 42% female) and completed an oral health questionnaire. Biospecimens were assayed for total IgG and immune markers related to inflammation (cytokines), blood in saliva (transferrin), and tissue remodeling (matrix metalloproteinase-8). Total IgG (μg/mL) concentrations were higher in serum than saliva. Salivary total IgG was associated with some self-reported oral health measures, and strongly positively associated with all salivary immune markers. Controlling for salivary total IgG may be a feasible, affordable approach to adjusting salivary biomeasure findings for the influence of the oral immune environment when it is not possible or practical to obtain clinical oral health data.

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