Immunological Aspects of EBV and Oral Mucosa Interactions in Oral Lichen Planus

Ingrīda Čēma (Coresponding Author), Jagriti Kakar (Coresponding Author), Madara Dzudzilo, Modra Murovska (Coresponding Author)

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Oral lichen planus (OLP) is considered a T cell-mediated chronic inflammatory process activated by an unknown antigen, making basal keratinocytes vulnerable to a cytotoxic cell mediated immune response. The aim of this review is to summarize information on the role and pathways of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and immune cells in inducing OLP as an autoimmune lesion. The pathogenesis of OLP is analyzed from immunological aspects of interactions between EBV and oral mucosa. The results of the available studies allow us to assume that EBV can act both as an exogenous and an endogenous antigen in the pathogenesis of OLP. We emphasized the role of antigen-presenting cells (APC), such as dendritic cells (Langerhans cells, LC), in detecting and capturing antigens and modulating the adaptive immune response. Although EBV shows tropism for B cells and epithelial cells, under certain conditions it can infect monocytes, LCs, NK, and T lymphocytes. It means that under some circumstances of the chronic inflammatory process, EBV particles can react as endogenous agents. During the development of the autoimmune process, a decisive role is played by the loss of immune tolerance. Factors like the activity of cytokines, chemokines, and autoantibodies secreted by EBV-positive plasma cells, autoantigens formed due to virus protein mimicry of human proteins, new self-peptides released from damaged tissues, self-reactive B and T cells, dysregulation of LC function, the anti-apoptotic effect of EBV early lytic antigens, and an imbalance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory immune cells facilitate the development of an autoimmune process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6735
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • oral lichen planus
  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • chronic inflammation
  • oral epithelia
  • dendritic cells
  • immune cells
  • autoimmunity

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.5 Other medical sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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