Salivary cortisol and α-amylase: subclinical indicators of stress as cardiometabolic risk

Currently, the potential for cardiovascular (CV) stress-induced risk is primarily based on the theoretical (obvious) side effects of stress on the CV system. Salivary cortisol and α-amylase, produced respectively by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SAM) system during stress response, are still not included in the routine evaluation of CV risk and require additional and definitive validation. Therefore, this article overviews studies published between 2010 and 2015, in which salivary cortisol and α-amylase were measured as stress biomarkers to examine their associations with CV/CMR (cardiometabolic risk) clinical and subclinical indicators. A comprehensive search of PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus electronic databases was performed, and 54 key articles related to the use of salivary cortisol and α-amylase as subclinical indicators of stress and CV/CMR factors, including studies that emphasized methodological biases that could influence the accuracy of study outcomes, were ultimately identified. Overall, the biological impact of stress measured by salivary cortisol and α-amylase was associated with CV/CMR factors. Results supported the use of salivary cortisol and α-amylase as potential diagnostic tools for detecting stress-induced cardiac diseases and especially to describe the mechanisms by which stress potentially contributes to the pathogenesis and outcomes of CV diseases.