Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 306, Issue 5, pp 441–446 | Cite as

Expression of Foxp3 and interleukin-17 in lichen planus lesions with emphasis on difference in oral and cutaneous variants

  • Zhengyu Shen
  • Xing Gao
  • Liwei Ma
  • Zengtong Zhou
  • Xuemin ShenEmail author
  • Wei LiuEmail author
Original Paper


Foxp3 is a specific marker for regulatory T cells (Tregs), and interleukin (IL)-17 is the signature cytokine of T-helper (Th) 17 cells. Recent studies suggested that Foxp3+ Tregs and IL-17+ Th17 cells may be involved in pathogenesis of lichen planus (LP). The objectives of this study were to examine the immunoexpression of Foxp3 and IL-17 in archival paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens from 80 cases of LP (oral LP, n = 42; cutaneous LP, n = 38) and compare against normal control tissues (oral mucosa, n = 10; skin, n = 10). The results showed that the mean number of Foxp3 and IL-17 expression in LP was significantly higher compared to controls, respectively (both P < 0.001). A positive correlation between Foxp3 and IL-17 expression (r = 0.273; P = 0.014) was observed. Moreover, the mean number of Foxp3 expression in oral LP was significantly higher than cutaneous LP (P < 0.001). Collectively, our findings demonstrated the increased expression of Foxp3 and IL-17 in LP lesions including oral and cutaneous variants. Foxp3 expressing in oral LP was higher than cutaneous LP, which may be associated with the difference in clinical behaviour of the two variants of the disease. Further studies are required to investigate the immunopathologic mechanisms and therapeutic target of Foxp3+ Tregs and IL-17+ Th17 cells in LP.


Foxp3 Interleukin-17 Lichen planus Oral Cutaneous Immunohistochemistry 



This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81200786, 81302358), Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai (13401905700), and Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (12ZR1417000).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Ninth People’s HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Stomatology, XiangYa HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Ninth People’s HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, XiangYa HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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