Inflammation Research

, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 535–539 | Cite as

Green tea consumption: an alternative approach to managing oral lichen planus

  • Jing Zhang
  • Gang ZhouEmail author


Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a T-cell-mediated inflammatory autoimmune disease, whose pathogenesis includes both antigen-specific and non-specific mechanisms. Antigen-specific mechanisms in OLP consist of antigen presentation, lymphocyte activation, proliferation and migration as well as keratinocyte apoptosis mediated by CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells, whereas non-specific mechanisms include mast cell degranulation and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activation in OLP lesions. Deficient antigen-specific transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-mediated immunosuppression may also contribute to the pathogenesis of OLP. In addition, OLP is considered to be a potentially malignant disorder with a malignant transformation rate of 0–5.3%. Green tea, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate, possesses anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties. It can inhibit antigen presentation, T-cell activation, proliferation and migration, keratinocyte apoptosis, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-кB) activation and MMP-9 activity, as well as regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) expression, and can modulate the imbalance between TGF-β and interferon-γ signaling, all of which are involved in the pathogenesis of OLP. Thus, our hypothesis is that green tea consumption may decrease OLP incidence and provide a neoteric, nontoxic and inexpensive therapeutic strategy for OLP. Furthermore, green tea might be a possible agent for preventing malignancies in OLP.


Green tea Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) Oral lichen planus Pathogenesis Treatment 



This work was supported by a Grant (No. 30973311, No. 81170972) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Basic Science of Stomatology (Hubei-MOST) and Key Laboratory of Oral Biomedicine Ministry of Education, School and Hospital of StomatologyWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Oral Medicine, School and Hospital of StomatologyWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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