Langerhans cells in oral epithelium of chronically inflamed human gingivae.

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  • Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine
  • Department of Anatomy
This study describes the histopathological features and the distribution of oral epithelial Langerhans cells in 19 gingival biopsies originating from an adult Tanzanian population characterized by very poor oral hygiene and severe gingival inflammation. Light-microscopically, all biopsies contained often large inflammatory connective tissue infiltrates, 6 of which predominantly contained plasma cells while the rest were dominated by lymphocytes. Seven specimens contained peculiar accumulations of round lymphoid and dendritic cells in the lower cell layers of the oral epithelium. These phenomena have not previously been demonstrated in human gingiva and deserve further attention in studies on the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases. Immuno-histochemical staining with OKT6, OKT4 and OKT8 antibodies showed markedly increased numbers of OKT6-positive cells in 7 specimens and clusters of OKT4- and OKT8-positive cells in the oral epithelium of 4 specimens. High numbers of OKT6-positive cells were not related to the presence of intra-epithelial, non-keratinocyte infiltrates or large connective tissue infiltrates. The variable numbers of oral epithelial Langerhans cells may therefore result from different bacterial antigens elucidating different responses or, alternatively, reflect different responses to similar plaque antigens penetrating the surface of the oral epithelium.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Pages (from-to)127-36
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1989

    Research areas

  • Adult, Aged, Chronic Disease, Connective Tissue, Epithelium, Gingiva, Gingivitis, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Langerhans Cells, Microscopy, Electron, Middle Aged, Tanzania

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