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January 8, 1992

Excretion of HTLV-I in Saliva

Author Affiliations

Kochi (Japan) Medical School

JAMA. 1992;267(2):236. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480020046029

To the Editor.  —Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is known to be transmitted by blood transfusion,1 breast feeding,2 and sexual contact.3 To explore the possible transmission of HTLV-I by kissing, we have examined saliva samples from healthy carriers and from patients with adult T-cell leukemia using the polymerase chain reaction technique.

Methods.  —Our study included three seropositive healthy persons (one man and two women) and three adult patients with T-cell leukemia (two men and one woman) aged 37 to 66 years.Their serum antibody titers ranged from 1:40 to 1:1280 by indirect immunofluorescence. Two seronegative healthy men aged 30 years served as controls. Saliva samples (10 to 20 mL) were collected with the aid of chewing gum. Saliva cells were washed twice with phosphate-buffered saline and used for DNA extraction. The polymerase chain reaction was performed under standard conditions4 using oligonucleotide primer pairs