Age-Dependent Modifications of the Human Salivary Secretory Protein Complex

Tiziana Cabras, Elisabetta Pisano, Roberto Boi, Alessandra Olianas, Barbara Manconi, Rosanna Inzitari, Chiara Fanali, Bruno Giardina, Massimo Castagnola, Irene Messana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Physiological variability of the naturally occurring, human salivary secretory peptidome was studied as a function of age. The qualitative and quantitative changes occurring in the secretion of proteins/peptides specific to the oral cavity (i.e., basic salivary proline-rich proteins, salivary acidic proline-rich phosphoproteins, statherin, proline-rich peptide P-B, salivary cystatins, and histatins) were investigated by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry in 67 subjects aged between 3 and 44 years. Subjects were divided into five age groups: group A, 8 donors, 3-5 years; group B, 11 donors, 6-9 years; group C, 20 donors, 10-12 years; group D, 15 donors, 13-17 years; group E, 13 donors, 24-44 years. Basic salivary proline-rich proteins, almost undetectable in the 3-5 and 6-9 years groups, reached salivary levels comparable to that of adults (24-44 years) around puberty. Levels of peptide P-D, basic peptide P-F, peptide P-H, peptide P-J (a new basic salivary proline-rich protein characterized in this study), and basic proline-rich peptide IB-1 were significantly higher in the 10-12-year-old group than in the 3-5-year-old group, whereas the increase of proline-rich peptide II-2 was significant only after the age of 12 years. The concentration of salivary acidic proline-rich phosphoproteins, histatin-3 1/24, histatin-3 1/25, and monophosphorylated and diphosphorylated cystatin S showed a minimum in the 6-9-year-old group. Finally, the histatin-1 concentration was significantly higher in the youngest subjects (3-5 years) than in the other groups
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4126-4134
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • histatins
  • statherin


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