Diurnal Changes in Distribution Characteristics of Salivary Cortisol and Immunoglobulin A Concentrations

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Aug 31;14(9):987. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14090987.


Salivary cortisol and secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) are important biomarkers for environmental and public health research. The present study investigated the diurnal variations of these salivary biomarkers, with a focus on the change of distribution characteristics (i.e., skewness and kurtosis) of the concentrations. The participants in this study were 113 healthy young males. Salivary samples were collected in the morning (6:30-7:30 a.m.) and afternoon (1:00-4:00 p.m.). The skewness and kurtosis of salivary cortisol concentrations in afternoon samples (skewness = 1.06, kurtosis = 4.78) were significantly higher than those in morning samples (skewness = 0.49, kurtosis = 2.80). The differences in skewness and kurtosis of S-IgA concentrations were non-significant; however, the standard deviation and interquartile ranges for afternoon S-IgA concentrations were significantly smaller than those for morning S-IgA concentrations. Logarithmic transformation improved the distribution of afternoon cortisol values, making it an almost normal distribution, but the transformation showed no improvement in the distribution of morning cortisol or S-IgA values. The present study explored diurnal changes in the distribution characteristics of salivary cortisol and S-IgA. Consideration of a possible diurnal change in the distribution characteristics is needed when we compare the difference in these salivary biomarkers between different times of day.

Keywords: diurnal variation; immunoglobulin A; kurtosis; salivary cortisol; skewness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Hydrocortisone