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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Nephrology 1/2019

Saliva for assessing creatinine, uric acid, and potassium in nephropathic patients

BMC Nephrology > Ausgabe 1/2019
Giancarlo Bilancio, Pierpaolo Cavallo, Cinzia Lombardi, Ermanno Guarino, Vincenzo Cozza, Francesco Giordano, Giuseppe Palladino, Massimo Cirillo
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Lab tests on saliva could be useful because of low invasivity. Previous reports indicated that creatinine, uric acid, and potassium are measurable in saliva. For these analytes the study investigated methodology of saliva tests and correlations between plasma and saliva levels.


The study enrolled 15 healthy volunteers for methodological analyses and 42 nephropathic patients for plasma-saliva correlations (35 non-dialysis and 7 dialysis). Saliva was collected by synthetic swap right after venipuncture for blood withdrawal. Blood and saliva, unless otherwise indicated, were collected early in the morning after overnight fast and lab tests were performed in fresh samples by automated biochemistry (standard). Methodological analyses included blind duplicates, different collection mouth sites, day-to-day variability, different collection times, and freezing-thawing effects. Analyses on plasma-saliva correlations included post-dialysis changes.


For saliva lab tests of all analytes, blind duplicates, samples from different mouth sites or of different days were not significantly different but were significantly correlated (differences ≤14.4%; R ≥ 0.620, P ≤ 0.01). For all analytes, mid-morning saliva had lower levels than but correlated with standard saliva (differences ≥15.8%; R ≥ 0.728, P ≤ 0.01). Frozen-thawed saliva had lower levels than fresh saliva for uric acid only (− 17.2%, P < 0.001). Frozen-thawed saliva correlated with fresh saliva for all analytes (R ≥ 0.818, P ≤ 0.001). Saliva and plasma levels differed but correlated with plasma for creatinine (R = 0.874, P < 0.001), uric acid (R = 0.821, P < 0.001) and potassium (R = 0.767, P < 0.001). Post-dialysis changes in saliva paralleled post-dialysis changes in plasma.


Saliva levels of creatinine, uric acid, and potassium are measurable and correlated with their plasma levels. Early morning fasting fresh saliva samples are advisable because later collection times or freezing lower the saliva levels of these analytes.
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