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J Oral Pathol Med. 2016 Mar;45(3):211-7. doi: 10.1111/jop.12345. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

Oral lichen planus: salival biomarkers cortisol, immunoglobulin A, adiponectin.

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Oral Medicine, University Dental Clinic, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Regional Campus of International Excellence Mare Nostrum, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.



Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic mucocutaneous disease, inflammatory and autoimmune in character, in which the pathogenesis is not fully understood. Psychological stress has also been implicated in triggering or exacerbating the disease.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychological profile, sleep, and salivary biological markers-cortisol, immunoglobin A (IgA), and adiponectin - in patients with oral lichen planus (OLP).


The sample consisted of 65 patients (33 with OLP and 32 control patients). Patients completed hospital anxiety and depression scales (HADD, HADA). Questionnaires were used to assess sleepiness: the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) and the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS). A visual analog scale (VAS) was used for rating pain. Unstimulated whole saliva was evaluated, together with total proteins: cortisol, IgA, and adiponectin.


Patients with OLP obtained significantly higher HADA and PSQI scores than control subjects (P = 0.001, P = 0.012, respectively). Total salivary protein (flow at rest) analysis found that total proteins were higher in the OLP group (P = 0.001). In the OLP group, IgA was 80.3 ± 51.3 vs. the control group 48.9 ± 32.8 (P = 0.005). Mean cortisol was 0.5 ± 0.3 μg/dl in the OLP group vs. 0.4 ± 0.2 μg/dl in the control group (P = 0.010). The OLP group showed a correlation between the HADA variable and pain (r = 0.358; P = 0.041), HADD (r = 0.568; P = 0.001), and PSQI (r = 0.537; P = 0.001).


OLP patients presented worse psychological profiles and sleep disturbances, as well as higher values for IgA, cortisol, and total proteins than control subjects.


IgA; adiponectin; anxiety; cortisol; lichen planus; saliva

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