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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Feb 2024 - 23 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 22

Mol Pain


Nociception related biomolecules in the adult human saliva: a scoping review with additional quantitative focus on cortisol.


Zarnegar R, Vounta A, Li Q, Ghoreishizadeh S


Nociception related salivary biomolecules can be useful patients who are not able to self-report pain. We present the existing evidence on this topic using the PRISMA-ScR guidelines and a more focused analysis of cortisol change after cold pain induction using the direction of effect analysis combined with risk of bias analysis using ROBINS-I. Five data bases were searched systematically for articles on adults with acute pain secondary to disease, injury or experimentally induced pain. 43 articles met the inclusion criteria for the general review and 11 of these were included in the cortisol-cold pain analysis. Salivary melatonin, kallikreins, pro-inflammatory cytokines, soluable TNFαreceptor II, secretory IgA, testosterone, salivary α-amylase and, most commonly, cortisol have been studied in relation to acute pain. There is greatest information about cortisol and sAA which both rise after cold pain when compared with other modalities. Where participants have been subjected to both pain and stress, stress is consistently a more reliable predictor of salivary biomarker change than pain. In conclusion, there remain considerable challenges in identifying biomarkers that can be used in clinical practice to guide the measurement of nociception and treatment of pain. Standardization of methodology and researchers’ greater awareness of the factors that affect salivary biomolecule concentrations are needed to improve our understanding of this field towards creating a clinically relevant body of evidence.