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J Dent Assoc S Afr. 1992 May;47(5):200-3.

Intraepithelial lymphocytes and Langerhans cells in the oral mucosa--dynamic aspects.

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University of Tübingen, Germany.


In the oral epithelium a constant population of non-epithelial immunocompetent cells--lymphocytes and Langerhans cells exists. 3025 such cells of the murine and 542 of the normal human oral mucosa were documented photographically at the ultrastructural level. Location within the epithelium, morphological signs of locomotion, membrane configuration and labeling of the intercellular substance by ruthenium red were registered. About 40 per cent of the lymphocytes and 70 per cent of the Langerhans cells show signs of locomotion, predominantly in a lateral and basal direction. Occasional cells crossing the basal lamina are seen. Close apposition, or rarely a denticulated surface and lysis of desmosomes were present, both probably indications of cellular interactions. Ruthenium red labeling of the glycocalix is continuous forming a homogeneous layer between epithelial and non-epithelial cells and between intraepithelial cells, suggesting an even distribution of antigens and the lack of preformed spaces for intraepithelial cells. Murine and human intraepithelial cells exhibited no major differences.

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