Salivary testosterone determination in studies of child health and development

Douglas A. Granger, Eve B. Schwartz, Alan Booth, Matthew Arentz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Measurement of hormones in children's saliva has excited interest because of numerous potential applications in developmental studies. Although assays of children's saliva for some hormones (e.g., cortisol) are widely available and used, the availability and use of assays of children's saliva testosterone is restricted. By adapting a commercially available serum testosterone kit, our laboratory has developed a reliable, efficient, and highly sensitive procedure for measuring testosterone in children's saliva that does not require separation or extraction. The minimum detection limit was 0.8 pg/mL. Intraassay coefficients of variation (CV) were between 3.66 and 6.78% at concentrations 9;25 to 86.41 pg/mL, and interassay CVs were between 5.70 and 6.61% at concentrations of 7.3 to 118.51 pg/mL. The standard curve was highly reproducible (M slope = -0.70 and M(r) = 0.99). Method accuracy, determined by spike recovery, and linearity, determined by serial dilution, were 99.20 and 92.80%, respectively. Values from matched serum and saliva samples showed strong linear relationships. The assay captured near 99.09% of the range of individual differences in boys' (N = 90) and girls' (N = 85), ages 8-12, AM and PM salivary testosterone levels. This assay can be easily applied to the investigation of testosterone-behavior relations in the context of studies on child health and development. It may help many child development researchers improve or expand their research activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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