Researchers Examine Metabolic Syndrome Links to Inflammatory Skin Disorder Lichen Planus

September 20, 2019

Psoriasis is known to be linked with metabolic syndrome, which is triggered by chronic inflammation and fosters obesity and dyslipidemia. A recent study looked at another chronic inflammatory skin disease, lichen planus, to better understand any associations with metabolic syndrome.

Psoriasis is known to be linked with metabolic syndrome, which is triggered by chronic inflammation and fosters obesity and dyslipidemia. A recent study looked at another chronic inflammatory skin disease, lichen planus (LP), to better understand any associations with metabolic syndrome.

LP is a papulosquamous disorder that can affect the hair, nails, and mucous membranes in addition to the skin. Both tumor necrosis factor-α and the Th1 cytokines interleukin-2, -4, -6, and -10 are involved in the pathogenesis of LP, and may also play a role in the risk factors of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance.

Patients with LP who attended an outpatient department for 6 months in 2016 were screened for metabolic syndrome using International Diabetes Federation 2005 criteria. Researchers recorded waist circumference, blood pressure, laboratory values for triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and high-density lipoprotein, as well as history of smoking, alcohol, and physical activity. Most of the patients were female and aged 41 to 50 years.

Out of the total of 113 cases, classical LP (63.7%) was the most common type, followed by hypertrophic LP, eruptive LP, oral LP, linear LP, follicular LP, LP pigmentosus, and annular LP in decreasing order of frequency.

From the total, 21 cases were found to be associated with metabolic syndrome; of those, 8 cases (38.09%) were of eruptive LP, which showed significant association with metabolic syndrome. Most of the patients affected by metabolic syndrome were women and middle-aged.

Higher waist circumference were noted in all variants associated with metabolic syndrome, followed by dyslipidemia (eruptive LP). High blood pressure was less commonly noted. Physical activity had no significant association with metabolic syndrome, and researchers excluded smoking and alcohol habits from the analysis due to their unequal distribution (ie, none of the women reported smoking or drinking alcohol).

The researchers said eruptive LP showed significant association with metabolic syndrome, and additional studies with large sample sizes for each type of LP, as well as a control group, are needed to confirm the findings.

Reference

Geetharani G, Sumithra S, Devaprabha S, Kothandaramasamy R. Eruptive lichen planus, a marker of metabolic syndrome. Indian J Dermatol. 2019;64(4):299-302. doi: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_553_17.