Measurement of cortisol in saliva: A comparison of measurement error within and between international academic-research laboratories

Jessica L. Calvi, Frances R. Chen, Victoria Brann Benson, Eleanor Brindle, Matt Bristow, Alpana De, Sonja Entringer, Helen Findlay, Christine Heim, Eric A. Hodges, Heiko Klawitter, Sonia Lupien, Holly M. Rus, Jitske Tiemensma, Silvanna Verlezza, Claire Dominique Walker, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Hundreds of scientific publications are produced annually that involve the measurement of cortisol in saliva. Intra- and inter-laboratory variation in salivary cortisol results has the potential to contribute to cross-study inconsistencies in findings, and the perception that salivary cortisol results are unreliable. This study rigorously estimates sources of measurement variability in the assay of salivary cortisol within and between established international academic-based laboratories that specialize in saliva analyses. One hundred young adults (Mean age: 23.10 years; 62 females) donated 2 mL of whole saliva by passive drool. Each sample was split into multiple- 100 μL aliquots and immediately frozen. One aliquot of each of the 100 participants' saliva was transported to academic laboratories (N = 9) in the United States, Canada, UK, and Germany and assayed for cortisol by the same commercially available immunoassay. Results: 1.76% of the variance in salivary cortisol levels was attributable to differences between duplicate assays of the same sample within laboratories, 7.93% of the variance was associated with differences between laboratories, and 90.31% to differences between samples. In established-qualified laboratories, measurement error of salivary cortisol is minimal, and inter-laboratory differences in measurement are unlikely to have a major influence on the determined values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number479
JournalBMC Research Notes
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 2017

Keywords

  • Inter-assay
  • Inter-laboratory variation
  • Intra-assay
  • Salivary cortisol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Calvi, J. L., Chen, F. R., Benson, V. B., Brindle, E., Bristow, M., De, A., Entringer, S., Findlay, H., Heim, C., Hodges, E. A., Klawitter, H., Lupien, S., Rus, H. M., Tiemensma, J., Verlezza, S., Walker, C. D., & Granger, D. A. (2017). Measurement of cortisol in saliva: A comparison of measurement error within and between international academic-research laboratories. BMC Research Notes, 10(1), [479]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2805-4