Periodontal diseases are localized chronic inflammatory conditions of the gingival and underlying bone and connective tissue. Platelet-activating factor (PAF), a potent inflammatory phospholipid mediator that has been previously detected in elevated levels in inflamed gingival tissues, in gingival crevicular fluid and in saliva, is implicated in periodontal disease. Our results from previous studies showed that the biologically active phospholipid detected in gingival crevicular fluid is a hydroxyl-PAF analogue. In this study, hydroxyl-PAF analogue was detected for the first time in human blood derived from patients with chronic periodontitis as well as from periodontally healthy volunteers. The hydroxyl-PAF analogue was purified by high-performance liquid chromatography, detected by biological assays and identified by electrospray analysis. In addition, the quantitative determination of PAF and hydroxyl-PAF analogue (expressed as PAF-like activity) showed a statistically significant increase in the ratio of hydroxyl-PAF analogue levels to PAF levels in periodontal patients, suggesting that this bioactive lipid may play a role in oral inflammation.