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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 18;10(6):e0129502. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129502. eCollection 2015.

Development of Salivary Cortisol Circadian Rhythm and Reference Intervals in Full-Term Infants.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
2
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
3
Division of Neuroscience, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Department of Neurosurgery, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Region Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden.
4
Division of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Center for Diagnostics, Region Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden.
5
Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division of Health, Activity and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cortisol concentrations in plasma display a circadian rhythm in adults and children older than one year. Earlier studies report divergent results regarding when cortisol circadian rhythm is established. The present study aims to investigate at what age infants develop a circadian rhythm, as well as the possible influences of behavioral regularity and daily life trauma on when the rhythm is established. Furthermore, we determine age-related reference intervals for cortisol concentrations in saliva during the first year of life.

METHODS:

130 healthy full-term infants were included in a prospective, longitudinal study with saliva sampling on two consecutive days, in the morning (07:30-09:30), noon (10:00-12:00) and evening (19:30-21:30), each month from birth until the infant was twelve months old. Information about development of behavioral regularity and potential exposure to trauma was obtained from the parents through the Baby Behavior Questionnaire and the Life Incidence of Traumatic Events checklist.

RESULTS:

A significant group-level circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol secretion was established at one month, and remained throughout the first year of life, although there was considerable individual variability. No correlation was found between development of cortisol circadian rhythm and the results from either the Baby Behavior Questionnaire or the Life Incidence of Traumatic Events checklist. The study presents salivary cortisol reference intervals for infants during the first twelve months of life.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cortisol circadian rhythm in infants is already established by one month of age, earlier than previous studies have shown. The current study also provides first year age-related reference intervals for salivary cortisol levels in healthy, full-term infants.

PMID:
26086734
PMCID:
PMC4472813
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0129502
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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