Evaluation of density of Langerhans cells in human cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

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Abstract

Objective.

To compare the number of Langerhans cells in areas of CIN 3 and in areas without histopathological alteration adjacent to CIN 3 with those found in histologically normal control cases.

Material and methods.

Specimens were obtained from 46 normal cervixes from women undergoing hysterectomies due to uterine leiomyomata and 71 from conization specimens for CIN 3. The identification of the Langerhans cells was performed by immunohistochemical analysis, using antibodies to S-100 protein. The number of intraepithelial Langerhans cells was counted at a 400× magnification under light microscope and a 10 field count was performed in areas of epithelium of the normal cervix (group A), areas of CIN 3 in the conization specimens (group B), and areas of epithelium without histopathologic alteration adjacent to CIN 3 (group C). Results were expressed as number of cells per square millimeter of epithelium.

Results.

Comparing groups A and B, we observed that the number of Langerhans cells was significantly higher in the latter group; between groups A and C, the number of cells was significantly lower in the second group. The number of Langerhans cells was also compared between groups B and C and it was significantly lower in the latter, independent of smoking habits.

Conclusions.

We theorize that the increase in the population of Langerhans cells in areas of CIN 3 could be explained by migration of these cells from adjacent areas without histopathologic alterations in order to act in the restraint of the development of neoplasia; cigarette smoking did not influence this migration.

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