Salivaomics: An Emerging Approach in Dentistry


Zohaib Khurshid1                    BDS, MRes
Shariq Najeeb2                        BDS, MSc
Rabia Sanam Khan3               BDS, MSc
Muhammad Sohail Zafar4        BDS, MSc, PhD


Omic science brings a new discipline in medical and dental sciences by viewing the molecules that make up a cell, tissue or an organism1 . The term “salivaomics” was coined in 2008 to reflect the rapid development of knowledge about the various “omics” constituents of saliva2 . Omic science has a number of applications not only to understanding of normal physiology but also pathology of various diseases. This technology detected biological samples on different levels such as genomics (genes), transcriptomics (mRNA), proteomics (proteins) and metabolomics (metabolites)3,4. Over the last decades, omic sciences is playing an essential role in the field of dentistry5 . The accessibility of five diagnostic alphabets i.e. proteins, mRNAs, miRNAs, metabolic compounds and microbes has proposed significant advantages. This is due to the fact that the disease states may escort detectable changes in one, but not in all dimensions6 . On the basis of the biomolecules from human saliva, the term “Salivaomics” was introduced7 . The human saliva contains many hormones, enzymes, proteins, peptides, growth factors, microbes, and antimicrobial peptides which help in defense as well as diagnosis of oral and systematic diseases8-10. The saliva biofluid can be collected non-invasively without the need of expertise required for blood sampling. In addition, other key benefits such as, cost effectiveness, ease of handling, disposal and transportability, minimal risk of cross contamination, patient’s comfortibility, better patient’s compliance, screening of large populations and no cultural or religious issues are in credit of saliva biofluid sampling11. By the great effort of researchers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA a SKB (Salivaomics Knowledge Base) was introduced. This platform is web-based, data repository, management system to support human salivary proteomics, transcriptomics, miRNAs, metabolomics and microbiome research. This web-based platform provides salivaomics studies and data to clinicians or researchers for the exploration of systematic biology and pathology of human saliva12. Denny et al. compiled consortium of three research groups on the human saliva proteins collected from the ductal secretions and identified 1166 proteins. This study opened a window for the future analysis of salivary samples from individuals with oral and systemic diseases. with the goal of identifying biomarkers with diagnostic and/or prognostic value for these conditions; another possibility is the discovery of therapeutic targets13. By omic sciences, novel methods have been identified for the developments of drugs similar to human defence system. Many researchers reported oral salivary peptides carpeted on material surfaces for inhibiting microbes and activation of growth factors14-16. Synthetic peptides from natural salivary proteins reduced the demineralization of enamel17. Combination of emerging biotechnologies and salivary diagnostics, saliva has been gradually unveiled as a valuable medical analytes and biomarkers for different diseases including cancer, autoimmune diseases, viral diseases, bacterial diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and Human Immuno Virus (HIV). Amongst, the cancer detection is the most attractive area due to involvement of vital human tissues such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer18 lung cancer19 and ovarian cancer20. Existing markers for the salivary detection include that of myocardial infarction21 and efforts are already in placefor new markers of Sjögren’s syndrome22. This has translated the saliva-based diagnostics from the simple oral cavity to the whole physiological system. Currently, saliva-based diagnostics is on the cutting edge of diagnostic technologies2 in dentistry that is very helpful in the early diagnosis, maintenance of disease, drug control and designing of new natural drugs. It may be considered by the clinicians during clinical decisions making and predicting post treatment outcomes in the near future.


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1. Department of Prosthodontics and Implantology, School of Dentistry, King Faisal University, Al-Hofuf 31982, Saudi Arabia
2. Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, Al Farabi Colleges, Riyadh 11313, Saudi Arabia
3. Department of Oral Pathology, College of Dentistry, Baqai University, Karachi, Pakistan.
4. Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Taibah University, Madina Munawwarrah 41311, Saudi Arabia Corresponding author: “Dr. Zohaib Khurshid” < >