Immunologic and psychologic parameters associated with geographic tongue

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Several conditions have been associated with geographic tongue (GT). However, there is no consensus on the etiology of GT. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether immunologic and psychologic parameters are associated with diagnosis of GT.

Study Design.

A case-control study was performed on 170 participants (85 with GT, 85 controls). Unstimulated whole saliva was collected, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) concentrations were measured. Anxiety level was measured using psychologic and physiologic testing instruments. An independent t test and a Pearson correlation analysis were performed with SPSS (α = .05).


There was a significant difference between the 2 groups regarding the salivary concentrations of TNF-α (P = .008) and IL-6 (P = .001). The concentration of salivary cortisol and state and trait anxiety levels in the GT group were significantly higher than those in the control group (P = .001).


Immunologic and psychologic parameters appear associated with GT and may constitute risk factors of this condition.

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