Given the high correlation between the serum and saliva hormone values demonstrated at rest, saliva provides a convenient non-invasive way to determine dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol concentrations. However, to our knowledge, pituitary adrenal recovery following short-term suppression with corticosteroids has never been investigated in saliva. The aim of this study was therefore to examine how steroid hormone concentrations in saliva are influenced by short-term corticosteroid administration.
Materials and methods
We studied saliva DHEA and cortisol concentrations before, during (day 1-day 7) and following (day 8-day 16) the administration of oral therapeutic doses of prednisone (50 mg daily for 1 week) in 11 healthy recreationally trained women.
Mean saliva DHEA and cortisol concentrations decreased immediately after the start of prednisone treatment (P < 0.05). Three days after concluding prednisone administration, both saliva DHEA and cortisol had returned to pretreatment levels.
These data are consistent with previous studies on blood samples and suggest that non-invasive saliva samples may offer a practical approach to assessing pituitary-adrenal function continuously during and after short-term corticosteroid therapy.