IFN-Gamma and IL-4 in Saliva of Patients with Oral Lichen Planus: A Study in an Ethnic Chinese Population

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Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) represent T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2) cytokines involved in oral lichen planus (OLP), respectively. This study was to investigate the expression profile of IFN-γ and IL-4 in saliva of OLP patients. Seventy-nine ethnic Chinese patients with OLP were recruited for this study, together with 41 age–sex-matched healthy volunteers served as control group. IFN-γ and IL-4 levels in whole unstimulated saliva were screened by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. OLP patient showed a low-level IFN-γ but high-level IL-4 expression profile in saliva, with a lower ratio of salivary IFN-γ/IL-4 compared to healthy controls. With regards to subtypes, salivary IL-4 level in erythematous/ulcerative group was significantly higher than that in reticular group. Imbalance of Th1/Th2 cytokines with Th2-predominant profile in saliva may be involved in OLP. Salivary IL-4 level may be a fine biomarker reflecting the severity of OLP.

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