Epstein-Barr virus and its association with oral hairy leukoplakia: A short review

Razia Abdool Gafaar Khammissa, Jeanine Fourie, Rakesh Chandran, Johan Lemmer, Liviu Feller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In immunocompromised subjects, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection of terminally differentiated oral keratinocytes may result in subclinical productive infection of the virus in the stratum spinosum and in the stratum granulosum with shedding of infectious virions into the oral fluid in the desquamating cells. In a minority of cases this productive infection with dysregulation of the cell cycle of terminally differentiated epithelial cells may manifest as oral hairy leukoplakia. This is a white, hyperkeratotic, benign lesion of low morbidity, affecting primarily the lateral border of the tongue. Factors that determine whether productive EBV replication within the oral epithelium will cause oral hairy leukoplakia include the fitness of local immune responses, the profile of EBV gene expression, and local environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4941783
JournalInternational Journal of Dentistry
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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