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Keywords:

  • chronic graft-vs.-host disease;
  • immunohistopathological;
  • oral lichen planus;
  • oral lichenoid lesion;
  • oral manifestation

Background:  Chronic graft-vs.-host disease (cGVHD) is a common and serious complication after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). However, the detailed process of oral lichenoid lesions of cGVHD is still unknown. Therefore, we investigated the immunohistopathological features of cGVHD compared with oral lichen planus (OLP) and healthy controls.

Methods:  Nineteen allogenic BMT recipients with a histopathological diagnosis of cGVHD were investigated. We investigated the immunohistopathological features of cGVHD compared with OLP and healthy controls.

Results:  Immunohistopathological features showed that the infiltrations of CD4-positive T cells of cGVHD and OLP were significantly larger than those of the normal oral mucosa (P < 0.005). A larger number of CD8-positive T cells was infiltrated in cGVHD and OLP compared with the normal oral mucosa (P < 0.001). The difference in the number of CD4- and CD8-positive T cells between cGVHD and OLP was not significant. The infiltrations of Langerhans cells (CD1a) in cGVHD and OLP were significantly larger than those in the normal oral mucosa (P < 0.005). The difference in the number of Langerhans cells between cGVHD and OLP was not significant. CD68-positive macrophages were more frequently seen in cGVHD and OLP than in the normal oral mucosa (P < 0.0001). The difference in the number of CD68-positive macrophages between cGVHD and OLP was not significant.

Conclusions:  It is suggested that Langerhans cells and CD8-positive T cell may play a major role in the pathogenesis of the oral lichenoid lesions of cGVHD, and the immune response was inducted in OLP as well as the oral lichenoid lesion of cGVHD in this study.