Dental and Medical Problems

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Dental and Medical Problems

2013, vol. 50, nr 3, July-September, p. 271–274

Publication type: editorial article

Language: English

Salivary α-Amylase and Cortisol as Stress Biomarkers – Literature Review

α-Amylaza i kortyzol jako biomarkery stresu – przegląd piśmiennictwa

Anna Stefaniak1,A,B,D,E,F, Urszula Kaczmarek2,A,D

1 Doctoral studies, Department of Conservative and Paediatric Dentistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Wrocław, Poland

2 Department of Conservative and Paediatric Dentistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Wrocław, Poland

Abstract

Studies on the human body’s response to stress have shown a significant role of neurohormonal markers. The stress response is originally governed by two hormonal systems: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the hypothalamic – pituitary – adrenal axis (HPA). Cortisol is well-known as a biological stress marker of the HPA activity. Initially, the cortisol level has been measured in blood serum; however, in the 1980s, the biological material used to assess its level became saliva. Since then, non-invasive saliva sampling became a method of choice in studies requiring cortisol measurement. The result of searching for a simple stress marker of sympathetic nervous sytem is α-amylase. This enzyme is produced by the salivary glands cells and therefore is an indirect product of the HPA axis, but its level is closely correlated with the sympathetic activity, and increased by the action of a physical and psychological stressor. Studies have confirmed the advantages of salivary α-amylase as a biomarker, such as reliability and a non-invasive, fast and simple sample collecting procedure.

Streszczenie

Badania nad odpowiedzią organizmu na stres wykazały znaczącą rolę markerów neurohormonalnych. Odpowiedź na stres jest pierwotnie regulowana przez dwa systemy hormonalne: układ współczulny i oś podwzgórze–przysadkakora nadnerczy. Kortyzol jako biomarker pobudzenia osi podwzgórze–przysadka–kora nadnerczy w odpowiedzi na stres jest znany od dawna. Początkowo stężenie kortyzolu określano na podstawie krwi. Dopiero w latach 80. XX w. materiałem do badań została ślina. Od tego czasu nieinwazyjny pobór próbek śliny stał się metodą z wyboru. Poszukiwania równie prostego biomarkera pobudzenia układu współczulnego podczas stresu doprowadziły do α-amylazy ślinowej. Enzym ten jest wytwarzany przez komórki gruczołów ślinowych, dlatego nie jest bezpośrednim produktem osi podwzgórze–przysadka–kora nadnerczy, ale jego stężenie ściśle koreluje z aktywnością układu współczulnego i zwiększa się pod wpływem bodźca fizycznego lub psychicznego. Badania dowiodły, że stężenie tego enzymu w ślinie jest wiarygodnym wskaźnikiem odpowiedzi układu współczulnego na stres, a procedura pobrania materiału do badań jest szybka, prosta, powtarzalna i nieinwazyjna.

Key words

hydrocortisone, salivary alpha-amylase, physiological stress

Słowa kluczowe

α-amylaza ślinowa, hydrokortyzon, stres

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