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Salivary cortisol and administration of concentrated oral glucose in newborn infants: improved detection limit and smaller sample volumes without glucose interference
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Paediatrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3256-5407
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Paediatrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Clinical Chemistry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre for Laboratory Medicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry.
2004 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation, ISSN 0036-5513, Vol. 64, no 2, 113-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Newborn infants are subject to repetitive painful and stressful events during neonatal intensive care. When the baby attempts to cope with a stressful situation the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis is activated, releasing cortisol. The free cortisol response is optimally measured in saliva and saliva samples can be taken easily and without pain. However, saliva is very scarce in infants and saliva stimulants can interfere with analytical methods. Nowadays, sweet solutions are frequently administered to neonates prior to a disturbing procedure in order to reduce pain. The possible interference of sweet solutions with the measurement of salivary cortisol has not yet been documented. The aims of the present study were to further improve the detection limit of the radioimmunoassay used for cortisol analysis and to determine the degree of interference of high concentrations of glucose with the analytical method. By decreasing incubation temperature and prolonging the incubation time it was possible to improve the detection limit of the radio immunoassay (RIA) to 0.5 nmol/L at the same time as the sample volume was decreased to 10 μL saliva. Saliva was collected from full-term and preterm babies and was sufficient for analysis in 113 out of 116 (97%) samples. Glucose in the concentrations and amounts commonly used for pain relief did not interfere with the RIA method. In conclusion, it is feasible to collect microlitre volumes of saliva and analyse even very low concentrations of cortisol in newborns. It is also possible to offer the baby oral glucose prior to a painful procedure and still reliably measure salivary cortisol.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 64, no 2, 113-118 p.
Keyword [en]
Glucocorticoid, neonate, pain, radioimmunoassay, saliva, stress, stress hormone, sweet solution
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13951DOI: 10.1080/00365510410004452OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13951DiVA: diva2:22313
Available from: 2006-09-07 Created: 2006-09-07 Last updated: 2016-05-04
In thesis
1. Stress in infants and parents: Studies of salivary cortisol, behaviour and psychometric measures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stress in infants and parents: Studies of salivary cortisol, behaviour and psychometric measures
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The life of a preterm infant admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit may be stressful from the moment of birth. Ever since Hans Selye’s initial characterisation of the biological stress response, cortisol has been frequently measured as an indicator of stress responsivity. However, research of the stress response and cortisol in infants, especially those who are preterm and/or ill, has been scarce basically because of methodological issues.

The first aim with this thesis was to investigate the acute stress response, as measured by salivary cortisol and behaviour, for preterm infants, healthy infants, and infants at high psychosocial risk in response to certain defined handling procedures. The second aim was to investigate the stress response, as measured by salivary cortisol and psychometric measures, for parents present during the handling procedure of their infants. The intention was to perform all investigations in an as naturally occurring situation as possible, which means that the studied procedures would have been performed irrespectively of the research.

The present thesis includes six original articles. The results of the first study demonstrate that it is feasible to collect sufficient amounts of saliva and to analyse salivary cortisol in neonates using the presented method of collection and analysis. The second study shows that preterm infants, usually cared for in incubators, show no signs of discomfort and have variable cortisol responses during skin-to-skin care with their mothers. The mothers, however, experience stress and low control before their first skin-to-skin care with their preterm infant and do not relax completely until after the session. In the third study we found that preterm infants have higher baseline salivary cortisol as compared to healthy full-term infants. Moreover, preterm infants have higher and sustained pain response during a nappy change as compared to healthy full-term infants. The results of the fourth study shows that infants younger than three months, living in psychosocial high-risk families, have increased cortisol responses during a nappy change, performed by the mother. However, support with the aim of improving mother-infant interaction, dampens the stress response. The results of the fifth study show that oral sweet-tasting solution in combination with a pacifier dampen the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in three months old infants during routine immunisation. Moreover, parents experience more self-rated emotional stress before immunisation if it is their first child who is being immunised. The sixth paper shows that the material used for saliva collection (cotton buds with wooden or plastic sticks) is of importance when saliva is collected but for practical reasons not centrifuged within 24 hours prior to cortisol analyse.

The present thesis shows that it is practically feasible to collect saliva and to analyse the stress hormone cortisol in infants. The interpretation of infants’ and parents’ salivary cortisol responses to different handling procedures are discussed in relation to shortand long-term consequences, neonatal intensive care, preterm birth, attachment, mood, and pain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för molekylär och klinisk medicin, 2006
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 943
Keyword
Stress, Infants, Prematura childern, Intensive care, neonatal, saliva, Chemistry, Glucose, Hydrocortisone
National Category
Pediatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7294 (URN)91-85497-78-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-05-12, Berzeliussalen, Ingång 65, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-09-07 Created: 2006-09-07 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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Mörelius, Eva-LottaNelson, NinaTheodorsson, Elvar

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