Washington, Oct 3: Researchers have said that spit has tremendous potential as a research and diagnostic specimen.
In a recent study, Professor Doug Granger, who is the director of ASU’s new Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research and Foundation Professor in the Department of Psychology in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and scientists with the University of Oregon tracked the release of nerve growth factor in saliva (sNGF), finding for the first time that this protein typically linked to the survival, development or function of neurons may be an important player in understanding the body’s response to stress.
Lead author Heidemarie Laurent, assistant professor of psychology with the University of Oregon, said that sNGF appears to represent a unique facet of the way a person responds to acute stress, with individual differences in sNGF related to both short-term and more lasting measures of psychological health.
She said that sNGF also appears to be related to resilience rather than risk.
Granger and Laurent recently reported that conflict with a romantic partner caused sNGF to rise in parallel with the two main components of the “fight or flight” stress response – the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Most significantly, the researchers found that the more a person’s sNGF level increased in response to stress, the lower their conflict-related negative emotions.
Granger said that one of the things that makes sNGF so different is that it is related to positive attributes so rather than being a risk marker, sNGF has the potential to index resilience.
The study has been published in journal Psychosomatic Medicine. (ANI)