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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1999 Jul;24(5):567-79.

Assessing dehydroepiandrosterone in saliva: a simple radioimmunoassay for use in studies of children, adolescents and adults.

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  • 1Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16801-6508, USA.


While salivary assays for some hormones are widely used, the availability of assays for salivary DHEA is limited. By adapting a commercially available radioimmunoassay serum kit, we developed a reliable, efficient and sensitive measure of DHEA in saliva that does not require separation or extraction. The minimum detection limit was 4.0 pg/ml. Intra-assay coefficients of variation (CV%) were on average 4.05, and inter-assay CVs averaged 9.70. Method accuracy, determined by spike recovery, and linearity, determined by serial dilution, averaged 99.55 and 92.03%. Levels in matched serum and saliva samples showed strong linear relationships for adult males and females. Specific guidelines are developed for sample collection, storage, and preparation procedures. Reference ranges for salivary DHEA levels are provided for 64 children ages 8-11, 96 adolescents ages 12-17 and 48 adults ages 30-45. Salivary DHEA levels are shown to reflect developmental, gender and diurnal differences.

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