Saliva found to potentially protect against flu

A new study recently published in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research found a protein present in the saliva that may explain the age and sex bias of the influenza and other diseases.

Zheng Li and other researchers in the study explain saliva contains a germ-fighting protein, which serves as the first line of defense against infection. This protein, the glycoprotein, is a protein with a sugar coating that combats microbes which causes disease. Every person has glycoproteins in his or her saliva, but the levels of glycoproteins increase with age.

Li's team tested 180 saliva samples of men and women from various age groups. Seniors had glycloproteins which were more efficient at binding to influenza than the glycoproteins of their younger counterparts

This research "may provide useful information to help understand some age-related diseases and physiological phenomenon specific to women or men, and inspire new ideas for prevention and diagnosis of the diseases by considering the individual conditions based primarily on the salivary analysis," the scientists wrote.

Li and his team received funding from the National Science and Technology Major Project and the Foundation of Shaanxi Educational Committee to support their research.