Easy and non-invasive disease detection in pigs by adenosine deaminase activity determinations in saliva

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 8;12(6):e0179299. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179299. eCollection 2017.


The quantification of adenosine deaminase (ADA) in porcine saliva samples has been analyzed for its use as a marker of disease. First, an analytical validation of the enzymatic assay used for ADA measurements was performed. Afterwards, saliva samples were collected from 50 healthy animals and 64 animals with different symptoms of disease, which were divided into local inflammation, gastrointestinal disorder, respiratory disorder and growth retardation. To optimize ADA measurements, total ADA (tADA), specific ADA (sADA) and ADA isoforms 1 and 2 activities were calculated. Moreover, to preliminarily estimate the diagnostic value of tADA activity measurements for disease detection, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses was performed and compared to the results obtained for salivary acute phase proteins, haptoglobin (Hp) and C-reactive protein (CRP). The salivary levels of tADA activity were significantly elevated in animals with local inflammation, gastrointestinal disorder and respiratory disorder. The calculation of the different ADA activities did not provide additional information to tADA activity quantification for disease detection. The diagnostic value of tADA activity was superior to those observed for Hp and CRP measurements in the present study. It might be concluded that ADA analysis in saliva could be used as a simple, rapid, economic and non-invasive diagnostic tool in porcine production in field conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism
  • Adenosine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Linear Models
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / enzymology*
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sus scrofa
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / enzymology*


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Adenosine Deaminase

Grant support

CefuS.A. Company provided support in the form of salaries for one author [PF], but did not have any additional role in the study funding, design and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific role of PF is articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.