Immunohistochemical analysis of stratum corneum components in oral squamous epithelia


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Abstract. The generation of a stratum corneum in squamous epithelia involves marked changes in morphology and in the expression of cell products. We have examined the expression of some of the components involved in this process in oral squamous epithelia with different terminal differentiation patterns by use of immunofluorescent techniques. Involucrin and transglutaminase are involved in formation of cornified envelopes consistently seen in the stratum corneum. Both components were present in keratinized oral epithelia (palatal epithelium and hyperkeratinized buccal epithelium). The nonkeratinized normal buccal epithelium stained positive as well. Filaggrin, a protein derived from a precursor present in keratohyalin granules, is proposed to aggregate keratin filaments in the cornified layer. Although the staining differed markedly in quantity, this component was likewise detected in both keratinized and nonkeratinized epithelia. The staining patterns for different keratin polypeptides, however, showed qualitative differences between the different epithelia. Thus, it seems that the keratin composition shows differentiation-specific characteristics, whereas the presence of other important components needed to generate a stratum corneum is not as closely related to the terminal differentiation pattern of oral epithelia.