Serum autoantibodies, including antinuclear antibodies (ANAs), have been found in patients with oral lichen planus (OLP). This study evaluated whether Taiwanese OLP patients had significantly higher frequencies of serum ANAs than healthy control subjects, and whether levamisole treatment could modulate the antibody levels.
This study used an indirect immunofluorescence technique to measure the baseline serum levels of ANA in a group of 583 Taiwanese OLP patients and 53 healthy control subjects. Seventy-nine ANA-positive OLP patients were treated with levamisole under a regular follow-up schedule in our dental clinic, and their serum ANA levels were measured after treatment.
We found that the frequencies of serum ANA in patients with OLP (23.2%), erosive OLP (EOLP, 23.8%), major EOLP (31.5%), and minor EOLP (18.1%) were all significantly higher than that (5.7%) in healthy control subjects. In addition, major EOLP patients had a significantly higher serum ANA positive rate than minor EOLP or non-erosive OLP patients. Of 135 ANA-positive OLP patients, 79 were treated with levamisole under a regular follow-up schedule. We found that treatment with levamisole for a period of 2-38 months (mean, 12 ± 9 months) effectively reduced the high mean serum ANA titer (557 ± 98) at baseline to an undetectable level (0) in all ANA-positive OLP patients, regardless of different high initial serum titers of ANA.
There was a significantly higher frequency of serum ANA (23.2%) in Taiwanese OLP patients than in healthy control subjects. Treatment with levamisole for 2-38 months reduced the high serum ANA to an undetectable level, and significantly improved the signs and symptoms in all treated OLP patients.