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Int J Med Sci 2004; 1(3):146-151. doi:10.7150/ijms.1.146

Research paper

Expression of hMSH2 protein of the human DNA mismatch repair system in oral lichen planus

Flávio Juliano Garcia Santos Pimenta1, Maria das Graças Rodrigues Pinheiro2, Ricardo Santiago Gomez1

1 Department of Oral Surgery and Pathology, School of Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
2 School of Dentistry, Centro de Ensino Superior do Pará, Belém, Brazil.


Lichen planus is a mucocutaneous disease of inflammatory nature and unknown etiology. It is characterized by a cell-mediated immunological response to induced antigenic change in skin and/or mucosa. The possible malignant transformation of lichen planus remains a subject of controversial discussions in the literature. hMSH2 is one of the human DNA mismatch repair (hMMR) genes and it plays an important role in reducing mutation and maintaining genomic stability. hMSH2 alterations have been reported in oral squamous cell carcinoma and there are evidences suggesting the association between oral lichen planus and squamous cell carcinoma. In this study, we aim to investigate the immunolocalization of hMSH2 protein in oral lichen planus compared to oral normal mucosa epithelium. We examined the expression of hMSH2 protein by immunohistochemistry in twenty-six cases of oral lichen planus. Clinically, 12 of them were categorized into reticular subtype and 14 were atrophic/erosive. Ten cases of normal mucosa were added to the control group. Results showed that the percentage of positive cells to hMSH2 was smaller in reticular (46.54%; p=0,006) and atrophic/erosive (48.79%; p=0,028) subtypes of oral lichen planus compared to normal mucosa (61.29%). The reduced expression of hMSH2 protein in oral lichen planus suggests that this lesion is more susceptible to mutation and therefore facilitate the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Keywords: hMSH2, immunohistochemistry, oral lichen planus and malignant transformation

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How to cite this article:
Pimenta FJGS, Pinheiro MdGR, Gomez RS. Expression of hMSH2 protein of the human DNA mismatch repair system in oral lichen planus. Int J Med Sci 2004; 1(3):146-151. doi:10.7150/ijms.1.146. Available from