Histomorphometric characterization of subgemmal neurogenous plaques

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The aim of this study was to characterize the histomorphometric features of subgemmal neurogenous plaques (SNPs) to better understand their relationship to surrounding microanatomy included in the tissue biopsy samples of the tongue.

Study Design.

A 12-year retrospective study on the files of 3 oral pathology centers yielded 28 SNPs. Hematoxylin and eosin–stained sections were used for histologic analysis, and immunohistochemical staining for S100 protein was performed to better characterize the neural structures. Slides were scanned and histomorphometric analysis carried out using ImageScope software.


Twenty-one women (75%) and 6 men (21.4%) comprised the sample (mean age 46.4 and 49 years, respectively). Twenty cases (71.4%) were juxtaposed to the tongue epithelium and 16 cases (57.1%) were associated with lymphoid tissue. The mean area of the SNPs was 0.160 mm2, and the mean distance to the overlying epithelium was 0.312 mm.


SNPs are normal neural structures located on the posterior border of the tongue that represent a non-neoplastic regional anatomic variation. In some cases, signs or symptoms may be present, and further investigation should be performed. Pathologists should be aware of this entity to avoid confusion with neural lesions.

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