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Ponlatham Chaiyarit, Poramaporn Klanrit, Pensri Phothipakdee, Ajiravudh Subarnbhesaj, Kobkan Thongprasom and Andrew S. Giraud


Background: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease that usually causes oral mucosal damage. OLP has been considered to be a potentially malignant disorder associated with an increased risk for oral cancer. Trefoil factors (TFFs) are mainly synthesized by mucin-producing epithelial cells. Expression of TFFs in oral epithelia is thought to be an essential factor in protection against oral mucosal damage. However, very little is known about the connection between tissue damage of oral mucosa in OLP patients and expression of TFFs.

Objectives: To determine levels of TFF expression in oral mucosa from patients with OLP.

Methods: Tissue samples were collected from 35 patients with normal oral mucosa (controls) and 35 patients with OLP. An immunohistochemical method was used to determine the expression of the 3 TFFs (TFF1, 2, and 3) in mucosal tissues of the oral cavity.

Results:TFF2 and TFF3 expression in oral epithelia were significantly decreased in OLP patients (Mann- Whitney U test; P = 0.006, and P = 0.002, respectively). There were no significant differences in TFF1 expression between OLP patients and control subjects.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrated reduced expression of TFF2 and TFF3 in oral epithelia of OLP patients. These outcomes support our previous observations that chronic inflammation may play a major role in downregulation of TFF expression, which may be associated with oral mucosal damage in OLP patients.