Indexed on: 19 Jun '04Published on: 19 Jun '04Published in: Mediators of inflammation
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is chronic inflammatory disease of the oral mucosa, presenting in various clinical forms. The etiology of OLP is still unknown but mounting evidence points to the immunologic basis of this disorder.Our study was undertaken to quantify the salivary levels of pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in the reticular and the erosive/atrophic forms of OLP, compared with age-matched healthy control volunteers.Whole saliva from 40 patients with active lesions of OLP, as well as from 20 healthy persons, was investigated for the presence of TNF-alpha by enzyme immunoassay.Salivary TNF-alpha levels were significantly increased in patients with OLP in comparison with healthy subjects. The presence of TNF-alpha showed positive correlation to clinical forms of OLP, being significantly higher in the erosive/atrophic type than in the reticular type of disease.Saliva provides an ideal medium for the detection of pro-inflammatory markers of the oral cavity. In patients with OLP, TNF-alpha levels in saliva are elevated, correlating with the severity of illness. Salivary TNF-alpha analysis may be a useful diagnostic tool and a potential prognostic marker in OLP.