Background: Although various acceptable and easy-to-use devices have been used for saliva collection, cotton swabs are among the most common ones. Previous studies reported that cotton swabs yield a lower level of melatonin detection. However, this statistical method is not adequate for detecting an agreement between cotton saliva collection and passive saliva collection, and a test for bias is needed. Furthermore, the effects of cotton swabs have not been examined at lower melatonin level, a level at which melatonin is used for assessment of circadian rhythms, namely dim light melatonin onset (DLMO). In the present study, we estimated the effect of cotton swabs on the results of salivary melatonin assay using the Bland-Altman plot at lower level.Methods: Nine healthy males were recruited and each provided four saliva samples on a single day to yield a total of 36 samples. Saliva samples were directly collected in plastic tubes using plastic straws, and subsequently pipetted onto cotton swabs (cotton saliva collection) and into clear sterile tubes (passive saliva collection). The melatonin levels were analyzed in duplicate using commercially available ELISA kits.Results: The mean melatonin concentration in cotton saliva collection samples was significantly lower than that in passive saliva collection samples at higher melatonin level (>6 pg/mL). The Bland-Altman plot indicated that cotton swabs causes relative and proportional biases in the assay results. For lower melatonin level (<6 pg/mL), although the BA plots didn't show proportional and relative biases, there was no significant correlation between passive and cotton saliva collection samples.Conclusion: Our findings indicate an interference effect of cotton swabs on the assay result of salivary melatonin at lower melatonin level. Cotton-based collection devices might, thus, not be suitable for assessment of DLMO.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems