Oral fluids hold promise as a potential alternative to blood as a diagnostic fluid. Currently, diseases like HIV, hepatitis, and certain cancers can be detected through the analysis of oral fluids.
In the past, it has been difficult to detect meaningful amounts of disease markers in oral fluids, because they are not always found in the same abundance as in blood. Proteomics is a relatively new method of studying the amounts and types of protein in cells and body fluids on a much smaller scale than was previously possible. The analysis of oral fluids using proteomics has opened new doors for the study of oral diseases and links between oral and systemic diseases.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, reporting today during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, are conducting a study using proteomics to analyze two different oral fluids: saliva and gingival crevicular fluid, the fluid which is present in the pocket between the teeth and gum tissue.
The purpose of the study is to demonstrate how these fluids contribute unique proteins to oral fluid, and to establish what proteins are found in healthy, "normal" oral fluid. In the future, this information will be compared with that obtained from individuals who have disease, to discover new ways to diagnose and treat disease.