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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNMC: Researchers Find Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (Oral Ulcers) Linked to Wound Healing Abnormality, Not Autoimmune Disease

Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is an inflammatory condition characterized by painful, recurrent ulcerations of the oral mucosa. Over 100 million individuals in the United States experience these painful ulcers at some point in life. RAS is one of the most debilitating oral conditions, due to the disproportionately high pain levels compared with the lesion size. Significant treatment progress can only be achieved through a better understanding of RAS etiology. In an article published in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research titled “Elevated serum insulin‐like growth factor 1 in recurrent aphthous stomatitis”, Dr. Baccaglini and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Public Health examined if RAS and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and IGF-1 related factors are associated in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population – 1,480 individuals aged 20-40 years from the third National Health Examination Survey (NHANES III).

Dr. Baccaglini and colleagues conducted multivariable analyses and found that higher IGF‐1 levels and nonblack race were independently associated with a positive RAS history. These findings indicated notable racial differences in RAS history and unveil novel significant differences in IGF‐1 serum levels, providing support to the initial hypothesis that RAS is a wound healing abnormality linked to IGF-1, rather than an autoimmune disease. A common genetic abnormality differentially distributed across different races (i.e., less prevalent in blacks) and involving the IGF‐1 pathway, coupled with high circulating IGF‐1 levels could explain the differences in reported RAS history noted in this study.

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