Journal of Diagnostic Techniques and Biomedical AnalysisISSN: 2469-5653

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Short Communication,  J Diagn Tech Biomed Anal Vol: 6 Issue: 2

Effect of Collection Methods on Salivary Cortisol

Christopher JD McKinlay1,3,4, Eric B Thorstensen1, Wayne S Cutfield1,5, Malcolm R Battin1,2, Stuart R Dalziel1,6 and Jane E Harding1*

1Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

2Newborn Services, National Women’s Health, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand

3Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health, University of Auckland, Auckland New Zealand

4Kidz First Neonatal Care, Counties Manukau Health, Auckland, New Zealand

5A Better Start, National Science Challenge, New Zealand

6Children’s Emergency Department, Starship Children’s Health, Auckland, New Zealand

*Corresponding Author : Jane E Harding
Liggins Institute, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (9) 373 7599
82733; +64 (21) 515979

Received: August 14, 2017 Accepted: October 17, 2017 Published: October 22, 2017

Citation: McKinlay CJD, Thorstensen EB, Cutfield WS, Battin MR, Dalziel SR, et al. (2017) Effect of Collection Methods on Salivary Cortisol. J Diagn Tech Biomed Anal 6:2. doi: 10.4172/2469-5653.1000121


Salivary cortisol is a useful measure of hypothalmic-pituitary axis function, but the effects of collection method, sample volume, and environmental conditions on hormone recovery are poorly described. These potential sources of pre-analytical variation were assessed using spiked pooled saliva and assay by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). When saliva was collected onto cotton swabs, hormone recovery was determined primarily by volume recovery, which was in turn determined by sample volume. To ensure adequate cortisol recovery, ≥2 ml of saliva must be absorbed onto swabs. This may be difficult for many children and some adults to achieve. Salivary cortisol is remarkably stable to a range of environmental conditions, including repeated freeze-thaw cycles, storage at room temperature and exposure to sunlight. This study shows that it is preferable to obtain saliva by passive drool without swabs if adequate sample volume (≥2 ml) cannot be achieved, and that saliva samples can be returned by standard post without affecting hormone recovery.

Keywords: Salivary cortisol; Hypothalamic-pituitary axis; Tandem mass spectrometry

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