Saliva Test to Catch Early Diabetes

Scientists from Oregon and Indiana are developing a simple saliva test that can diagnose and monitor treatment of type 2 diabetes. The new test may improve the doctors’ diagnostic abilities, bring forward diabetes treatment, and ultimately increase patients’ life expectancies.
Type2 Diabetes symptoms (Credit: Australian government, department of veteran affairs) 
Type2 Diabetes symptoms
(Credit: Australian government,
department of veteran affairs)

The number of cases of diabetes type 2 has doubled during the last 30 years in parallel with the epidemic of obesity. This type of diabetes is often called “late onset” or “non-insulin dependent.” During the course of the disease, cells become less susceptible to insulin (a hormone that draws glucose into the cells) and overall blood glucose levels rise. About 7% of the newly discovered type 2 diabetics had been diabetic for 4-7 years before the discovery. These years may severely compromise their health as high glucose levels cause vascular lesions that may cause vision loss, nerve damage, kidney damage, and other problems. The western world epidemic of obesity may result in many young adults developing type 2 diabetes. Left undiagnosed and untreated this disease will result in a lower life expectancy, therefore the development of new improved ways to test for the disease is of utmost importance.

 
Saliva test (Creidt: LaneWorkSafe AU) 
Saliva test (Creidt: LaneWorkSafe AU)

One of the problems with current diagnosis of diabetes is sometimes-painful needle sticks to draw blood for tests. Some individuals avoid getting tested in fear of the discomfort. This may also discourage patients from properly monitoring their blood sugar levels, scientists say. Saliva tests are completely non-invasive and provide results as quickly as the blood tests.

 
The test, developed by the research team led by Paturi V. Rao, is based on chemical recognition of biomarkers in the patients’ saliva. The scientists analyzed saliva samples from type 2 diabetes patients and healthy individuals. They sought protein biomarkers of the disease. Eventually, they identified 65 proteins that appeared twice as often in the patients’ samples than in the healthy samples.
 
Functional annotation of human whole saliva in type-2 diabetes. The majority of the proteins are predicted to have metabolic and immune response functions (Credit:  American Chemical Society) 
Functional annotation of human whole
saliva in type-2 diabetes. The majority of
the proteins are predicted to have
metabolic and immune response functions
(Credit: American Chemical Society)

The biomarkers found are proteins responsible of various functions. A majority of them belong to pathways regulating metabolism and immune response. The research team also demonstrated a trend of relative increases in marker abundance with progression from the pre-diabetic to the diabetic state. This proteomic analysis of the human saliva in type 2 diabetes provides the first global view of potential mechanisms altered in diabetic saliva and their utility in detection and monitoring of diabetes. Further characterization of these markers in additional groups of subjects may provide the basis for new, non-invasive tests for diabetes screening, detection, and monitoring.

 
TFOT has recently covered a three drug treatment that could help type 1 diabetes patients, found by researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. TFOT has also covered a saliva test that could identify a heart attack in progression, developed by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin. We have also brought you the story of a non invasive blood glucose monitor, developed by The Israeli Company OrSense.
 
For more information on the new saliva test for type 2 diabetes please read the full article at the American Chemical Society website.