What is the pathophysiology in lichen planus?

Updated: Feb 24, 2020
  • Author: Tsu-Yi Chuang, MD, MPH, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Lichen planus is a cell-mediated immune response of unknown origin. It may be found with other diseases of altered immunity; these conditions include ulcerative colitis, alopecia areata, vitiligo, dermatomyositis, morphea, lichen sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis.

An association is noted between lichen planus and hepatitis C virus infection, [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] chronic active hepatitis, and primary biliary cirrhosis. [13] In one meta-analysis, 16% of patients with LP had hepatitis C infection. [3] This association has been shown to exist in all regions of the world, including North America. [4] A workup for hepatitis C should be considered in patients with widespread or unusual presentations of lichen planus. Onset or exacerbation of lichen planus has also been linked to stressful events. [14]

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