Several diagnostic methods are currently being used to diagnose LPRD (laryngopharyngeal reflux disease), but have the disadvantage of being invasive, subjective, or expensive. Our purpose in this study was to investigate the correlation between pepsin and MMP-7 (Matrix Metalloproteinase-7) in pharyngeal secretions of subjects according to RSI (Reflux Symptom Index) score to find out the diagnostic value of MMP-7. We recruited 173 subjects aged between 19 and 85 years who completed the RSI scale. All samples were taken after waking up, and the amount of the pepsin and MMP-7 in saliva were measured by means of an enzyme activity assay. There was a significant increase of pepsin and MMP-7 activity in the study group with an RSI score of 13 or higher. The sensitivity and specificity of MMP-7 for predicting the possibility of an RSI of 13 or more was higher than that of pepsin. When MMP-7 and pepsin were combined, this sensitivity and specificity increased. An enzyme assay of MMP-7 in saliva may be a noninvasive and easy technique for diagnosing LPRD.
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