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Subclinical changes of oral mucosa in Hansen’s disease – a histopathological and immunohistochemical study

Keywords: Oral mucosa , Mycobacterium leprae , S-100 , Nerve

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Abstract:

Leprosy is a crippling disease with an associated social stigma. The disease is widely prevalent in India, which is oneof the endemic areas for the disease. Its oral manifestations though described, is very rare. Twenty established casesof leprosy from various hospitals were taken up in the study. Thirteen were in the lepromatous variety and sevenwere in the tuberculoid variety. None of the cases had any oral lesions. Biopsies were taken from the buccal mucosaand histopathological sections were studied by Hematoxylin and eosin, Wade-fite and S-100 immunoperoxidasestain. The results showed positivity for Mycobacterium leprae in 5 cases of lepromatous leprosy by Wade fittechnique. S-100 immunoperoxidase stain revealed nerve changes in the form of fragmentation in cases positive forMycobacterium leprae. These findings show that even in the absence of clinically observable oral lesions, tissuechanges in oral tissues do happen in some cases of leprosy and the causative organism Mycobacterium leprae canbe demonstrated.

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