Author(s): Shugars DC
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Abstract The oral cavity represents a unique site for mucosal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Unlike other mucosal sites, the oral cavity is rarely a site of HIV transmission despite detectable virus in saliva and oropharyngeal tissues of infected persons. One reason for this apparent paradox is the presence of endogenous mucosal antiviral factors. Innate inhibitory molecules, such as virus-specific antibodies, mucins, thrombospondin, and soluble proteins, have been identified and partially characterized from saliva. A recent addition to the growing list is secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), an approximately 12-kDa non-glycosylated protein found in serous secretions. Physiologic concentrations of SLPI potently protect adherent monocytes and activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells against HIV-1 infection. SLPI levels in saliva and semen but not breast milk approximate levels required for inhibition in vitro. Characterization of SLPI and other endogenous antiviral molecules may enhance our understanding of factors influencing mucosal HIV-1 transmission.
This article was published in J Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy