Salivary tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) has been associated with pathological conditions in the oral cavity, but the origin of TIMP-1 in saliva remains unknown. Hence, we studied the localization of TIMP-1 in salivary gland tissue and also investigated if TIMP-1 found in blood and saliva is identical. Human salivary gland tissue samples (four parotid gland and four submandibular gland biopsies) were analysed for the presence of TIMP-1 mRNA and protein expression. To assess TIMP-1 glycosylation profiles in blood and saliva, the protein was isolated from plasma and unstimulated and stimulated whole saliva as well as stimulated parotid and submandibular saliva and analysed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. TIMP-1 protein was demonstrated in mucous acinar cells of the submandibular gland and in ductal cells of both the parotid and submandibular gland. However, no TIMP-1 mRNA was detected in any of these cells. The glycosylation profiles of TIMP-1 isolated from whole saliva and saliva from the major glands were highly similar. In contrast, a significant difference was found between the glycoprofiles of salivary TIMP-1 and plasma TIMP-1. Although no clear evidence of TIMP-1 transcription in major salivary glands was demonstrated our results suggest that TIMP-1 in saliva does not originate from plasma.