Assessing salivary C-reactive protein: longitudinal associations with systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk in women exposed to intimate partner violence

Brain Behav Immun. 2012 May;26(4):543-51. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.01.019. Epub 2012 Feb 2.


This study evaluated individual differences in levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) measured in saliva, cross-sectionally and prospectively, in relation to systemic inflammation and risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Plasma and saliva samples, later assayed for CRP, were collected multiple times from an ethnically diverse group of women seeking help from domestic violence crisis shelters-agencies (N=107; mean age at study start=34 years). Plasma and saliva CRP levels were moderately associated cross-sectionally and across two years. There were indications that saliva CRP levels were, on average, higher in the morning than evening. Higher levels of saliva and plasma CRP were associated with a higher body mass index, but did not differ between women who did and did not smoke. Salivary CRP reliably discriminated between high and low levels of plasma CRP, using a clinically relevant cutoff point of 3mg/L, recommended by the American Heart Association. Results build upon an emerging literature suggesting that under specific conditions levels of CRP in saliva may reflect low-grade inflammation and have the potential to serve as a screen for CVD risk status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Spouse Abuse*


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein