Quantitative analysis of epithelial papillae in patients with oral lichen planus

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The oral mucosa is relatively vulnerable to pathological processes, and is often affected by autoimmune and malignant diseases. The oral epithelium is normally non-homogeneous, and joins to the connective tissue through interlocking of its downward projections in the form of papillae.


This study aims to conduct a histomorphometric study of the epithelial papillae in patients with oral lichen planus (OLP).

Material and method

This study was based on 100 cheek mucosa biopsies from patients with OLP (66 white reticular and 34 atrophic-erosive) (13 males and 87 females, with a mean age of 54.95 ± 13.64 years). A histological and morphometric evaluation was made, based on imaging analysis with MIP software 4.5 for studying the papillary structure in the patients with OLP.


The mean epithelial thickness was 227.5 ± 78.5 µm. The different papillary measures - BLS (distance from basal layer to epithelial surface), DPS (distance from dermal papilla top to epithelial surface), DPW (dermal papilla width), and DPD (interdermal papilla distance between two papillae) - yielded no statistically significant differences with respect to age, sex, smoking and clinical form. However, a significant correlation was observed in relation to papilla width and inflammatory infiltrate (P = 0.031).


The application of this imaging system is useful for measuring variations in epithelial papillary architecture.

Conflicts of interest

None declared.

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