Genomic Targets in Saliva

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Saliva, the most accessible and noninvasive biofluid of our body, harbors a wide spectrum of biological analytes informative for clinical diagnostic applications. While proteomic constituents are a logical first choice as salivary diagnostic analytes, genomic targets have emerged as highly informative and discriminatory. This awareness, coupled with the ability to harness genomic information by high-throughput technology platforms such as genome-wide microarrays, ideally positions salivary genomic targets for exploring the value of saliva for detection of specific disease states and augmenting the diagnostic and discriminatory value of the saliva proteome for clinical applications. Buccal cells and saliva have been used as sources of genomic DNA for a variety of clinical and forensic applications. For discovery of disease targets in saliva, the recent realization that there is a transcriptome in saliva presented an additional target for oral diagnostics. All healthy subjects evaluated have approximately 3,000 different mRNA molecules in their saliva. Almost 200 of these salivary mRNAs are present in all subjects. Exploration of the clinical utility of the salivary transcriptome in oral cancer subjects shows that four salivary mRNAs (OAZ, SAT, IL8, and IL1b) collectively have a discriminatory power of 91% sensitivity and specificity for oral cancer detection. Data are also now in place to validate the presence of unique diagnostic panels of salivary mRNAs in subjects with Sjögren's disease.

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