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Singapore Med J. 1992 Apr;33(2):170-3.

Clinical applications of salivary cortisol measurements.

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Department of Pathology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.


The clinical applications of salivary cortisol measurements were evaluated by radioimmunoassay of time-matched saliva and plasma samples. Salivary cortisol levels of normal subjects exhibited a significant (p less than 0.001) diurnal variation with a mean (+/- SD) concentration of 8.7 +/- 4.8 nmol/L at 0800-1000 h and 2.4 +/- 1.1 nmol/l at 1500-1700 h. After an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, morning salivary cortisol levels decrease to 2.7 +/- 0.7 nmol/L (p less than 0.001 vs normal). An excellent correlation (r = 0.805) of cortisol measurements with time-matched saliva and plasma samples was obtained (y = 0.03x + 0.88, p less than 0.001, n = 91). Hypercortisolism was confirmed by raised salivary cortisols in only half of patients with elevated total plasma levels, thereby indicating that salivary cortisol measurements is a better index of adrenal status.

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