2015 Volume 56 Issue 3 Pages 171-178
Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membrane of the oral cavity and can contribute to the development of other diseases. Inflammation in oral lichen planus is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease that acts through cytotoxic CD8+ T cells to trigger apoptosis of keratinocytes. However, the specific cause of oral lichen planus remains unknown and no effective medical treatment has yet been established. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment with capacity for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities. In this study, we evaluated whether astaxanthin could be used to improve the pathology of oral lichen planus by reducing inflammation. In particular, the anti-inflammatory effects of astaxanthin on the chronic inflammation caused by lipopolysaccharide derived from Escherichia coli O55 in human gingival keratinocytes (NDUSD-1) were evaluated. Following astaxanthin treatment, localization of nuclear factor κB/p65 and the level of inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α) tended to decrease, and cell proliferation significantly increased in vitro. These results suggest that astaxanthin could be useful for improving chronic inflammation such as that associated with oral lichen planus.