Herpesviruses excretion in saliva of pediatric transplant recipients.

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Saliva samples could be used for follow-up of herpesviruses infection in pediatric transplant recipients.


With the aim of determining the frequency of herpesviral infections in saliva samples after transplantation, and the association with viremia and complications, a pilot longitudinal follow-up of pediatric Cuban transplanted recipients (kidney and liver) was performed.


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, human herpesevirus-6 (HHV6), varicella zoster virus, and human herpesvirus-8 were serially assayed in saliva and serum samples from 27 transplanted patients, during 32 weeks after the graft. Samples taken immediately after the graft were used as control samples.


Herpesviruses were detected in 88.9% of saliva and in 37.0% of serum samples. HHV6 and CMV were the viruses more frequently detected (70.4%) in saliva and they were significantly more frequent during the follow-up in comparison with control samples (P < .05). Most patients (22/27) had more than one virus shedding concurrently. Patients with CMV in saliva were associated with CMV viremia (P = .009), particularly at the cutoff of 252.5 copies/mL, with a less accurate level of area under the curve. No association between CMV viral load in saliva and viral disease or response to the antiviral treatment was observed.


The association found between CMV shedding in saliva and CMV viremia in this study opens the possibility of future studies of using viral load in saliva as a predictor of viremia. The implementation of herpesviral load in saliva samples for early clinical intervention in pediatric recipients needs a study with a large number of samples for further conclusions.

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