Morning salivary cortisol in young children: reference values and the effects of age, sex, and acute bronchiolitis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Pediatrics. 2017, 184 193-198.e3. 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.01.064
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To identify morning salivary cortisol reference values in infancy and at 2 years of age and to investigate the influence of age, sex and acute bronchiolitis. STUDY DESIGN: In this South-East Norwegian cohort study, 308 children hospitalized with moderate to severe acute bronchiolitis in infancy in 2010-2011 were compared with 223 healthy controls included in 2012 by measuring morning salivary cortisol levels at inclusion and at 2 years of age. Samples were collected shortly after awakening after 6 am. The influences of age, sex, and acute bronchiolitis were assessed by regression analysis. RESULTS: In infancy, cortisol values were higher in acute bronchiolitis, with an age- and sex-adjusted weighted mean group difference of 13.9 nmol/L (95% CI 8.1-19.7; P < .0001). The median level in reference group was 23.7 nmol/L (95% CI 9.7-119.6). At 2 years of age, sex but not inclusion groups differed, with significantly higher values in girls. The weighted mean of all boys' cortisol levels was 32.4 nmol/L, (95% CI 30.5-34.3), and all girls' levels were 36.9 nmol/L (95% CI 34.7-39.2; P < .003). CONCLUSIONS: Salivary cortisol levels were higher at 2 years of age than in infancy in the reference group, were higher in girls than in boys at 2 years of age, and were higher in infants at the time of acute bronchiolitis than in healthy infants. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00817466.