The Washington Times - May 27, 2009, 12:17PM

There are 65 proteins that can be found at levels twice as great in the saliva of diabetics as in that of healthy people, a recent study found.

The scientists from Oregon and India who performed the investigation speculated that their work may provide the basis for developing a saliva test for monitoring and diagnosing type 2 diabetes - one that may one day replace blood tests.


The study, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, was done by Paturi V. Rao and his colleagues in the departments of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Medicine at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences University in Hyderabad, India.

They examined saliva samples from subjects with and without type 2 diabetes, looking for a profile of proteins that might serve as biomarkers for the disorder. Using the 65 proteins they found that seem to typify type 2 diabetes, the researchers hope to create an accurate, noninvasive test for diabetes screening, detection and monitoring.

Many diabetics may not be monitoring their condition rigorously, Rao said, because of the discomfort involved in finger-pricking for the current glucose-assessment blood test, putting lives at risk. A noninvasive test would eliminate the discomfort associated with monitoring blood sugar levels, and lead to greater regularity in testing.

“As recent studies have shown that early and multi-factorial intervention in diabetes prevents cardiovascular complications and mortality, advances in understanding molecular aspects of preclinical diabetes will further facilitate accurate diagnosis and early intervention,” the authors wrote.

But Umesh Masharani, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, feels the new research won’t lead to ousting the current blood tests anytime soon.

“I think this is an interesting and novel approach,” Masharani said. “[But] I do not think this approach will be used in the diagnosis or treatment of diabetes anytime in the near future. It is interesting, I think, for research studies in diabetes.”

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