Comparison of cortisol concentrations in plasma and saliva in dairy cattle following ACTH stimulation
The experiments described in this research communication compared cortisol concentrations in plasma and saliva samples collected from dairy cattle before and after an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) application. For that purpose, blood and saliva samples were collected from five dairy cows at determined time intervals before (490 min and down to 0 min) and after (10 min and up to 500 min) an ACTH application. Mean baseline cortisol concentrations were greater in plasma compared to saliva. The relative increases and decreases in plasma and salivary cortisol concentrations following ACTH were similar. After ACTH, we observed an increase in cortisol concentrations in plasma after 10 min and in saliva after 20 min. The time of peak concentrations after ACTH were reached at 70 and 80 min for plasma and saliva, respectively. After peak concentrations, values steadily declined and returned to baseline values at 169 ± 15 min in plasma and 170 ± 14 min in saliva. Ratios between salivary and plasma cortisol concentrations were on average 0.09 and did not change substantially during the ACTH challenge. There was a strong positive relationship between salivary and plasma cortisol concentrations. These results indicate that salivary cortisol concentrations can be a good indicator of ACTH-induced plasma cortisol concentrations in dairy cattle.