Salivary cortisol is commonly used as a clinical biomarker of endocrine status and also as a marker of psychosocial stress. Annexin-A1 (AnxA1) is an anti-inflammatory protein whose expression is modulated by glucocorticoids. Our principal objectives were to (i) detect the presence of and (ii) measure AnxA1 protein in whole human saliva and to (iii) investigate whether salivary cortisol and AnxA1 are correlated in healthy humans. A total of 37 healthy participants (male and female) were used in the study. Saliva was collected using salivette tubes. Salivary cortisol and AnxA1 protein were sampled at between 3 and 6 time points over 24 h and measured for cortisol and AnxA1 protein using specific ELISA's. The presence of salivary AnxA1 protein was confirmed by Western blotting.
AnxA1 protein is detectable in whole human saliva, as detected by Western blot analysis and ELISA. A diurnal rhythm was evident in both salivary cortisol (P < 0.01) and AnxA1 (P < 0.01) and was defined as a significant difference in time 0 (waking) samples compared to ‘bed’ (2300 h) samples. AnxA1 protein did not exhibit an awakening response (P > 0.05), whereas salivary cortisol was significantly elevated between time 0 and 30 min post waking (P < 0.001).
AnxA1 protein correlates positively with salivary cortisol, indicating that cortisol is most likely a regulator of AnxA1 in human saliva.