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  1. Joseph Masters1,2,
  2. Alaistair Noyce1,3,
  3. Gavin Giovannoni1,
  4. Tom Warner,
  5. Gordon Proctor
  1. 1Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London
  2. 2Salivary Research Unit, King's College London Dental Institute
  3. 3Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, UCL Institute of Neurology


Aim To investigate the composition of saliva in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods Saliva was collected from 16 patients with PD and 22 age-matched controls. Salivary DJ-1 concentrations were measured with quantitative immunoblotting; total protein concentration with a BCA assay; amylase with an amylase activity assay; and mucin concentrations with periodic-acid Schiff stained SDS gels.

Results Salivary flow rate was not significantly different between patients and controls. Patient saliva showed increases in DJ-1 concentration (0.84 vs 0.42 µg/ml, p=0.001) and total protein concentration (8.4 vs 5.0 mg/ml, p=0.001). In patients, adjusted DJ-1 levels correlated with disease severity measured with the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (p=0.019). Concentrations of amylase, but not mucins, were elevated in the saliva of patients (0.127 vs 0.061 units/ml, p<0.001) and correlated positively with both total protein (p<0.001) and DJ-1 concentration (p<0.013).

Conclusions This preliminary study suggests that the saliva of patients with PD is different in composition to that of controls, which supports the notion that saliva may be a good candidate for biomarker discovery in PD. Altered protein secretion may be a manifestation of autonomic dysfunction in PD.

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