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J Dent Res. 1989 Sep;68(9):1345-9.

The permeability of human oral mucosa and skin to water.

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Dows Institute for Dental Research, College of Dentistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Specimens from four regions of oral mucosa (palate, buccal mucosa, lateral border of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth) and of abdominal skin were taken from 58 individuals at autopsy, for determination of permeability constants (Kp) to tritium-labeled water. Comparisons between fresh specimens and those stored at -80 degrees C revealed no significant effect on Kp as a result of freezing; similar results were found with use of specimens from corresponding regions of the pig. Values for Kp were significantly different for all of the tissue regions examined and ranged from 44 +/- 4 x 10(-7) cm/min for skin to 973 +/- 33 x 10(-7) cm/min for the floor of the mouth, which was the most permeable region. Similar differences were evident among corresponding regions of porcine oral mucosa and skin. Moreover, the Kp values obtained for human tissues were not significantly different from those of the pig, except for the floor of the mouth, which was more permeable in human than in pig tissue. The results reveal interesting differences in the permeability of human oral mucosa that might be related to susceptibility to mucosal disease in those conditions where local extrinsic etiological agents are implicated.

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