Salivary iron status in children with iron deficiency and iron overload

J Trop Pediatr. 1992 Apr;38(2):64-7. doi: 10.1093/tropej/38.2.64.


Forty anaemic (iron deficiency anaemia-27, thalassemia major-8, and aplastic anaemia-5) and 10 non-anaemic children (serving as controls) aged from 8 months to 10 years were selected for the study. The salivary iron was significantly higher in iron deficient and iron overload conditions compared to controls. The mean salivary:serum iron ratio was same in control and iron overload cases, while it was twice as high in iron deficient anaemic children. The correlation between salivary iron and serum iron was significant (r = 0.7392, P less than 0.001) in these cases. The iron deficient anaemic children with hypoalbuminaemia had significantly reduced serum and salivary protein (P less than 0.001), but iron concentrations in serum and saliva remained unaltered. The salivary protein level had significant correlations with serum albumin and serum protein (P less than 0.001). Thus, the iron in saliva is maintained at a higher level and more so in iron deficiency anaemia; it correlates well with serum iron (r = 0.6853, P less than 0.001) in iron deficient anaemic children also and is not affected by co-existing hypoproteinaemic situation.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / deficiency
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / blood
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / analysis*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron Deficiencies
  • Saliva / chemistry*


  • Albumins
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron