Validating the salivary testosterone and cortisol concentration measures in response to short high-intensity exercise.
To validate the testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) concentration measures in saliva in response to short high-intensity exercise. Nine healthy males provided matching saliva and plasma samples before and after a 30-second Wingate cycle test. Saliva was assayed for T (Sal-T) and C (Sal-C) concentrations, and plasma for total T and total C, sex hormone-binding globulin, corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) and albumin concentrations. The plasma free and bioavailable hormones were calculated. The Sal-T and plasma T correlations were weak to moderate (r=0.57-0.61) when examined between individuals (pooled data for all participants), but these relationships improved (r = 0.71-0.73) within individuals (data for each participant on average). The Sal-C and plasma C correlations were strong both between individuals (r=0.81-0.84) and within individuals (r=0.83-0.84). The peak relative increases in Sal-T (35+/-9%) and Sal-C (63+/-29%) concentrations exceeded the plasma total and/or free hormones, but not the bioavailable hormones. Albumin (10+/-3%) and CBG (16+/-4%) also increased with exercise, along with blood lactate (943+/-119%). The Sal-T and Sal-C concentration measures were validated in response to short high-intensity exercise, especially for individuals. The hormonal changes in saliva were also more sensitive to exercise (i.e. greater relative responses) than the plasma total and/or free hormones, potentially arising from changes in the binding proteins and blood lactate. These findings support the use of saliva as a medium for steroid determination in sport.