Background: Lupus erythematosus (LE) is a multifactorial autoimmune disease, which may affect the oral mucosa in either its cutaneous and systemic forms, with varied prevalence.
Methods: Forty-six patients with confirmed diagnosis of LE, presenting oral lesions were included in the study. Oral mucosal lesions were analyzed clinically, their histopathological features were investigated and inflammatory infiltrate constitution was assessed using immunohistochemistry against the following clusters of differentiation: CD3, CD4, CD8, CD20, CD68 and CD1a.
Results: From 46 patients with specific LE oral lesions 34 were females (25 with cutaneous LE and nine with systemic LE) and 12 were males (11 with cutaneous LE and one with systemic LE). Clinical aspects of lesions varied, and lips and buccal mucosa were the most affected sites. Histologically, lesions revealed lichenoid mucositis with perivascular infiltrate and thickening of basement membrane. Inflammatory infiltrate was predominantly composed by T lymphocytes of the CD4 subtype, with a minor prevalence of B lymphocytes, isolated macrophages and rare Langerhans cells.
Conclusions: Oral lesions of lupus erythematosus show a variety of clinical aspects and histologically consist of a lichenoid mucositis with deep inflammatory infiltrate, composed predominantly of T CD4 positive lymphocytes.