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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01828

Use of saliva in alternative to serum sampling to monitor biomarkers modifications in professional soccer players.

  • 1Facoltà di Ingegneria, Architettura e Scienze Motorie, Università degli Studi di Enna Kore, Italy
  • 2Dipartimento di Scienze per la promozione della salute e della maternità, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy
  • 3Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico "Paolo Giaccone" di Palermo, Italy
  • 4Nutrition, Hydration & Body Composition Department, Parma Calcio 1913, Italy
  • 5Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico "Paolo Giaccone" di Palermo, Italy
  • 6U.S. Città di Palermo Football Club, Italy
  • 7Dipartimento di Discipline Chirurgiche, Oncologiche e Stomatologiche, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy

We aimed to investigate the correlation between serum and salivary concentrations of steroid hormones and IgA, and the variation in concentrations of these biomarkers, across a soccer competitive season in a sample of players playing for an Italian major League team.
Thirty-five elite male soccer players were recruited and assessed for salivary hormones (cortisol, testosterone, T/C‰ and DHEA-S) and IgA at 3 different time-points: t1) after the pre-season period and 16 official matches played; t2) after a winter break and 2 official matches played; t3) two days after the final match of the championship and 19 matches played. Players were also tested for blood biomarkers (ser-C, ser-T, ser-T/C‰, ser-IgA, ACTH) at two detection times (t1 and t3). Blood samples were collected immediately after saliva sampling.
The Spearman’s rank correlation was used to explore the correlation between blood and salivary concentrations of cortisol, free testosterone and IgA in the different time points. One-way ANOVA and permutation test were performed to explore changes by time of hormones and IgA concentrations over the competitive season.
We documented a positive correlation between serum and saliva concentrations for Cortisol at t1 (+58.2%; p-value= 0.002) and t3 (+54.2%; p-value= 0.018) and for Testosterone at t1 (+42.0%; p-value= 0.033). Moreover, a positive variation was documented across the season (t3 – t1) for Cortisol (= +6.83; SEM= ± 2.70; Var%= +37.6; p-value= 0.032), Testosterone (= +0.33; SEM= ±0.07; Var%= +27.3; p-value= 0.002) and DHEA-S (= +44.48; SEM= ±18.54; Var%= +82.0; p-value= 0.042), while a decrease of sal-T/C ratio and no variation in salivary IgA concentrations were reported.
In conclusion, our findings support for experimental use of saliva samples to monitor steroid hormones modifications in professional soccer players across a competitive season.

Keywords: salivary cortisol, salivary testosterone, IgA, salivary and serum hormones correlation, salivary hormones variation, Competitive sports, Soccer players

Received: 27 Sep 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Giovanni Li Volti, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy

Reviewed by:

Roberto Bei, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy
Maria R. Gualano, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Francavilla, Vitale, Ciaccio, BONGIOVANNI, Marotta, Caldarella, Todaro, Zarcone, Muratore, Bellia, Francavilla and Mazzucco. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. TINDARO BONGIOVANNI, Nutrition, Hydration & Body Composition Department, Parma Calcio 1913, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy,