Background: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic relapsing cell-mediated condition of unknown etiology. The purpose of this study was to ascertain if the human herpesviruses (HHVs) or human papillomaviruses (HPVs) act as possible factors or co-factors in the pathogenesis of OLP. Methods: Thirty-eight histologically confirmed OLP and 20 normal control buccal mucosa tissue samples were analyzed. Polymerase chain reaction analysis was employed to detect members of the HHV and HPV families. Results: The Epstein-Barr virus and HHV-7 were detected in a small percentage of tissue samples. However, HPV-16 was detected in 26.3% of OLP samples and 0% of the normal control tissues. The epidermodysplasia verruciformis-related HPV types were detected in 42% of OLP samples and 45% of normal control samples. Conclusion: The results of this study do not suggest a causative role for members of the HHV family in the pathology of OLP. However, a statistical association was found between HPV-16 presence and OLP.
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