Salivary levels of interleukin-8 and growth factors are modulated in patients with geographic tongue

Oral Dis. 2017 Sep;23(6):757-762. doi: 10.1111/odi.12654. Epub 2017 Mar 24.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the levels of salivary epidermal growth factor (EGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as well as interleukin-8 (IL-8) in patients with geographic tongue (GT), as compared to control subjects.

Methodology: An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure the levels of IL-8, EGF and VEGF in whole saliva samples collected from 34 patients with GT and 38 control subjects. The patients and controls were grouped and matched according to age, gender and the presence of systemic diseases, which are factors that may influence the levels of salivary biomarkers.

Results: All patients with GT displayed significantly higher levels of IL-8 than the controls (P < 0.001). The young female patients also showed reduced levels of EGF (P < 0.05) and VEGF (P < 0.05), as compared to the young male patients where no such differences were observed. Interestingly, high levels of IL-8 (P < 0.001) and VEGF (P < 0.05) were detected in the patients with GT who also suffered from hypertension.

Conclusion: We consider IL-8 an inflammatory mediator, which contributes to the acute inflammatory response found in GT. EGF and VEGF also seem to be involved in the pathophysiology of GT.

Keywords: benign migratory glossitis; epidermal growth factor; interleukin-8; papillary atrophy; saliva; vascular endothelial growth factor.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glossitis, Benign Migratory / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-8
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Epidermal Growth Factor