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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Feb;15(2):197-204.

Reference values for morning salivary cortisol concentrations in healthy school-aged children.

Author information

1
Department of Paediatrics, Umeå University, Umeå and Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In children, sensitive, specific, pain-free sampling methods are important. An alternative is salivary sampling. Our knowledge about steroid levels in saliva and plasma in school-aged children and during puberty is sparse and contradictory.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To estimate salivary cortisol concentrations in healthy school-aged children and relate the concentrations to age, sex, stage of puberty and adult values.

PATIENTS AND METHOD:

Saliva was collected in Salivette tubes from 210 boys and 176 girls aged 7-15 years, and from four adults, between 08.00 and 09.00 h. The tubes were centrifuged and then frozen at -20 degrees C until analysed by a commercial RIA-cortisol kit.

RESULTS:

Salivary cortisol was measurable in all infants. Boys and girls had nearly the same median concentrations, 8.8 versus 8.6 nmol/l, but girls had a higher maximal level, 53.9 compared to 33.2 nmol/l in boys. The median concentration was lower in 7-9 year-old children, 7.2 in boys and 5.7 nmol/l in girls, compared to 10-12 year-old children, 11.5 in boys and 10.9 nmol/l in girls (p <0.001). The median concentrations in most age groups were lower than in adults. Salivary cortisol concentration was dependent on stage of puberty.

CONCLUSION:

Salivary cortisol was measurable in the morning in school-aged children and the median concentration was dependent on age, stage of puberty, but not on sex.

PMID:
11874185
DOI:
10.1515/jpem.2002.15.2.197
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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