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Identification of potential salivary biomarkers for Sjögren’s syndrome with an untargeted metabolomic approach

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Despite the rise of metabolomics over the past years, and particularly salivary metabolomics, little research on Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) biomarkers has focused on the salivary metabolome.


This study aims to identify metabolites that could be used as biomarkers for SS.


Using the software called XCMS online, the salivary metabolic profiles obtained with liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry for 18 female SS patients were compared to those obtained for 22 age-matched female healthy controls.

Results and conclusion

A total of 91 metabolites showed differential expression in SS patients. A putative identification was proposed with the use of a database for 37 of these metabolites and, of these, 16 identifications were confirmed. Given the identified metabolites, some important metabolic pathways, such as amino acid metabolism, purine metabolism, or even the citric acid cycle seem to be affected. Through the analyses of the ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curves, three metabolites, namely alanine, isovaleric acid, and succinic acid, showed both good sensitivity (respectively 1.000, 1.000, and 0.750) and specificity (respectively 0.692, 0.615, and 0.692) for identifying SS and could then be interesting biomarkers for a potential salivary diagnosis test.

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Data Availability

All data and materials are stored in the Laboratory of Bioanalytical Sciences and Miniaturization (LSABM), UMR CBI 8231, ESPCI Paris, CNRS, PSL University, Paris, France. The data are not publicly available due to ethical concerns.


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This work was supported by the “Plateforme d’expertise pour le suivi de toxines à l’état de traces en milieu réel” project from DIM analytics from the Ile de France region.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conceptualization: P.B., A.C.A., H.C. and A.C; methodology: H.C. and A.C; formal analysis: P.B., H.C. and A.C.; investigation: P.B., A.C.A., H.C. and A.C.; resources: P.B., J.O.P., L.L.P., F.M.B.M., L.M.P. and A.C.A; writing—original draft preparation: P.B. and A.C.; writing—review and editing: P.B., A.C.A., H.C., J.O.P., L.L.P., F.M.B.M., L.M.P. V.P. and A.C; supervision: A.C.A., H.C. and A.C.; funding acquisition: V.P., H.C. and A.C. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Audrey Combès.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee (Hospital Center Regional University Morvan De Brest, CHRU Brest, CCPP Ouest VI, BB-0033-00037) in 2015. The Brest Biological Resources Center (CRB Santé du CHRU de Brest) provided the saliva samples for this study.

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Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

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Bosman, P., Pichon, V., Acevedo, A.C. et al. Identification of potential salivary biomarkers for Sjögren’s syndrome with an untargeted metabolomic approach. Metabolomics 19, 76 (2023).

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