Co-expression of colligin and collagen in oral submucous fibrosis: plausible role in pathogenesis

Oral Oncol. 2001 Apr;37(3):282-7. doi: 10.1016/s1368-8375(00)00121-4.


The high incidence of oral submucous fibrosis (OSF), a potentially malignant condition of the oral cavity, in the Indian subcontinent is causally associated with commonly prevailing habit of chewing areca nut and tobacco. Knowledge of molecular alterations in OSF is meagre. OSF is characterised by progressive accumulation of collagen fibres in lamina propria and oral submucosa. Colligin/HSP47 is a 47KDa stress protein which acts as a chaperone for collagen. We hypothesized that since colligin plays a vital role in folding and assembling collagen it may be involved in the pathogenesis of OSF. The present study was undertaken in tobacco and areca nut chewing Indian OSF patients to investigate the correlation, if any, between the expression of colligin and collagen type I proteins in OSF lesions. Immunohistochemical analysis showed overexpression of colligin and collagen type I proteins in 16/23 (70%) and 15/23 (65%) of OSF cases, respectively. The hallmark of the study was the significant association between the increased expression of type I collagen and its chaperone, colligin, in OSF lesions (P=0.0494). The data suggest that the increased levels of colligin in OSF may contribute to the deposition of collagen and consequent increased fibrosis in the oral submucosa in OSF lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Areca / adverse effects
  • Carrier Proteins / analysis*
  • Collagen / analysis*
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / chemistry*
  • Oral Submucous Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • colligin
  • Collagen