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Salivary biomarkers for the diagnosis and monitoring of neurological diseases

Current research efforts on neurological diseases are focused on identifying novel disease biomarkers to aid in diagnosis, provide accurate prognostic information and monitor disease progression. With advances in detection and quantification methods in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, saliva has emerged as a good source of samples for detection of disease biomarkers. Obtaining a sample of saliva offers multiple advantages over the currently tested biological fluids as it is a non-invasive, painless and simple procedure that does not require expert training or harbour undesirable side effects for the patients. Here, we review the existing literature on salivary biomarkers and examine their validity in diagnosing and monitoring neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Based on the available research, amyloid beta peptide, tau protein, lactoferrin, alpha-synuclein, DJ-1 protein, chromogranin A, huntingtin protein, DNA methylation disruptions, and micro-RNA profiles display a reliable degree of consistency and validity as disease biomarkers.

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