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A pilot study to demonstrate diagnostic potential of galectin-3 levels in saliva
  1. Xi Zhang1,
  2. Yunxia Wan1,
  3. Roberto Chata2,
  4. Anthony Brazzale3,
  5. John J Atherton3,
  6. Karam Kostner4,
  7. Goce Dimeski5,
  8. Chamindie Punyadeera1
  1. 1The School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovations, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Diamantina Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3Cardiology Department, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Department of Cardiology, Mater Adult Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5Department of Chemical Pathology, Princess Alexandra Hospitals, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Chamindie Punyadeera, The School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovations, Queensland University of Technology, 60 Musk Avenue, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia; Chamindie.punyadeera{at}


Aim Heart failure (HF) affects millions of older individuals in both developed and low/middle-income countries. Serum galectin-3 levels have been shown to have prognostic value. However, its use as a diagnostic biomarker has not been explored. The aim was to establish a saliva galectin-3 reference range and to demonstrate the potential diagnostic utility of salivary and serum galectin-3 levels in assessing HF.

Methods Blood and saliva samples were collected from age-matched healthy controls (n=51) and patients with HF (n=63). Customised immunoassays were developed to quantify salivary galectin-3 levels. The diagnostic performances of these assays were evaluated by receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves analysis.

Results The galectin-3 concentrations were significantly elevated in saliva and serum samples of patients with HF compared with controls (p<0.001 and p<0.0001, respectively). Using ROC curve analysis, both serum and salivary galectin-3 gave area under the curve (AUC)=0.86 and AUC=0.73, respectively. There was also a significant correlation (r=0.4, p<0.01) between serum and salivary galectin-3 levels.

Conclusions For the first time, we have quantified galectin-3 levels in human saliva and have demonstrated potential clinical utility in diagnosing HF. Further, larger multicentre clinical trials are needed before salivary galectin-3 levels can be implemented in a clinical setting.


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