Background: Self-report measures indicate that Yoga practices are perceived to reduce stress; however, molecular mechanisms through which YB affects stress are just beginning to be understood. While invasive sampling such as blood has been widely used to measure biological indicators such as pro-inflammatory biomarkers, the use of saliva to measure changes in various biomolecules has been increasingly recognized. As Yoga practice stimulates salivary secretion, and saliva is considered a source of biomarkers, changes in salivary cytokines before and after Yogic breathing exercise as specified in an ancient Tamil script, Thirumanthiram, were examined using a Cytokine Multiplex to compare to Attention Control (AC) group.
Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers were randomized into two groups stratified by gender (N = 10 per YB and AC groups); The YB group performed two YB exercises, each for ten minutes, for a total of twenty minutes in a single session as directed by a trained Yoga instructor. The AC group read a text of their choice for 20 min. Saliva was collected immediately after YB training at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 min and analyzed by Multiplex enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results: The levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8, and monocyte chemotactic protein -1 (MCP-1) were significantly reduced in YB group when compared to AC group. The level of reduction of IL-8 was significant at all time points tested, whereas IL-1β showed reduction at 15 and 20 min time points (p < 0.05), and MCP-1 level was marginally different at 5-20 min. There were no significant differences between YB and AC groups in the salivary levels of IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, IP-10, MIP-1b, and TNF-α.
Conclusions: These data are the first to demonstrate the feasibility of detecting salivary cytokines using multiplex assay in response to a Yoga practice. This study was registered in Clinical Trials.gov # NCT02108769.
Keywords: Cytokines; Multiplex; Pranayama; Pro-inflammatory; Salivary biomarkers; Stress; Tamil; Thirumanthiram; Yoga; Yogic breathing.