• HIV-1 RNA;
  • Saliva;
  • Cytokine;
  • Plasma


We measured levels of six cytokines and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA in saliva from HIV-seropositive individuals and compared salivary cytokine levels in HIV-seropositives and seronegatives. All of the six tested cytokines were detected in saliva although interleukin-1β, interferon-γ and interleukin-10 were detected more frequently (90%, 68% and 61% of samples, respectively) than interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α and tumor necrosis factor-α receptor II (2–17%). There was no significant association between cytokine levels in saliva and plasma suggesting that cytokines were produced locally. Interferon-γ levels were significantly higher in saliva from HIV-seropositives when compared to seronegatives while interleukin-10 levels were lower in seropositive saliva. Interleukin-10 levels were higher in individuals with low CD4 counts in the seropositive group. HIV RNA was detected in 29% of saliva samples from seropositives and there was a significant correlation between saliva and plasma HIV RNA levels. However, HIV RNA levels in saliva were not significantly associated with any of the saliva or plasma cytokine levels or with CD4 cell numbers. This study shows no association between inflammatory cytokine levels and HIV levels in saliva and suggests that saliva HIV levels are more influenced by blood HIV RNA levels than oral inflammation.