Saliva test could identify people at risk of diabetes

Saliva tests for diabetes could be developed following the discovery of raised protein levels in people in the early stages of the disease.

Researchers from India identified proteins present in saliva samples from 10 controls and 30 people who had type-2 diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

They found 487 proteins in the saliva samples.

In patients with diabetes, levels of 65 proteins were more than twice as high as levels in control subjects. Most of these proteins are involved with metabolism or immune responses, the researchers say.

These proteins also occurred at higher levels in people who had impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

Antibody tests were then used to confirm different levels of expression of the proteins in the study participants who had type-2 diabetes.

These immunoassays also showed that levels of these proteins appeared to increase with progression from prediabetes to full-blown disease.

'Further refinement and validation of this candidate biomarker set in a larger cohort could provide the basis for the development of a rapid, convenient and specific test for insulin secretion and function in at-risk patients,' the researchers say.

Analysis of saliva has the advantages of being safe, easy to access and non-invasive, the researchers say.

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