|Abstract: ||During the first year of life the infant oral environment undergoes dramatic changes. To investigate how the salivary proteome of human children evolves during infant development we have analyzed whole saliva of 88 children aged between 0 and 48months by a top-down platform based on RP-HPLC-ESI-MS. Children were divided according to their age into five groups (A, 0-6months, N=17; B, 7-12months, N=14; C, 13-24months, N=32; D, 25-36months, N=16; E, 37-48months, N=9). The proteins and peptides analyzed were histatins (histatin-1, histatin-3 1/24), acidic proline-rich proteins, statherin, P-B peptide, and salivary cystatins. Protein and peptide quantification based on the area of the RP-HPLC-ESI-MS extracted ion current peak evidenced that: (i) concentrations of the major salivary proteins/peptides showed a minimum in the 0-6-month-old group and increased with age; (ii) the level of histatin-1 reached a maximum in the 7-12-month-old group, a minimum in the 13-24-month-aged babies and it increased again in the 25-36-month-old group; (iii) S-type cystatins were almost undetectable in the 0-6-month-old group; (iv) P-B peptide concentration greatly increased with age; (v) histatin-3 1/24 and statherin concentrations did not show any age-related variation.
The top-down proteomic approach undertaken in this work reveals that the salivary proteome of human children from birth to 48months of age shows important quantitative modifications. The concentrations of the major salivary proteins, with the exception of statherin and histatin-3 1/24, showed a minimum in the 0-6-month-old group when the expression in salivary glands is probably not fully activated. Concentrations of the salivary proteins slowly increased with age, with different trends. Only histatin-1 showed the highest concentration in the 7-12-month-old group, followed by a decrease in the 13-24-month-aged children. This particular trend could be related to the phenomenon of eruption of primary dentition. This study gives a contribution to the knowledge on the physiological variability occurring in human saliva during the early childhood. It could represent a strong and reliable basis for further investigation of saliva to develop diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.|