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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 7;9(1):e84449. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084449. eCollection 2014.

Salivary inflammatory mediator profiling and correlation to clinical disease markers in asthma.

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  • 1Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
  • 2Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
  • 4Department of Chemistry, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America.
  • 5Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
  • 6Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.



There is a need for a readily available, non-invasive source of biomarkers that predict poor asthma control.


We sought to determine if there is an association between the salivary inflammatory profile and disease control in children and adults with asthma.


In this cross-sectional study, we collected demographic and clinical information from two independent populations at different sites, resulting in convenience samples of 58 pediatric and 122 adult urban asthmatics. Control was assessed by symptom questionnaire (children) and by Asthma Control Questionnaire and current exacerbation (adults). Saliva was collected in all subjects. We applied principal component analysis to a 10-plex panel of relevant inflammatory markers to characterize marker profiles and determined if profiles were associated with asthma control.


There were similar, strong correlations amongst biologically related markers in both populations: eosinophil-related: eotaxin-1/CCL11, RANTES/CCL5, and IL-5 (p<.001); myeloid/innate: IL-1β, IL-6, MCP-1/CCL2, and IL-8/CXCL8 (p<.001). The first three principal components captured ≥74% of variability across all ten analytes in both populations. In adults, the Principal Component 1 score, broadly reflective of all markers, but with greater weight given to myeloid/innate markers, was associated with Asthma Control Questionnaire score and exacerbation. The Principal Component 3 score, reflective of IP-10/CXCL10, was associated with current exacerbation. In children, the Principal Component 1, 2, and 3 scores were associated with recent asthma symptoms. The Principal Component 2 score, reflective of higher eosinophil markers, was inversely correlated with symptoms. The Principal Component 3 score was positively associated with all symptom outcomes.


The salivary inflammatory profile is associated with disease control in children and adults with asthma.

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