Histomorphometric analysis of age-related changes in epithelial thickness and Langerhans cell density of the human tongue

Tohoku J Exp Med. 1994 Jul;173(3):321-36. doi: 10.1620/tjem.173.321.

Abstract

Human tongues were taken from 529 cadavers (age, 0-105 years; 298 males and 231 females). Age-related changes in epithelial thickness and Langerhans cell (LC) density were histomorphometrically analyzed. The epithelial section area (ESA) per 10-mm epithelial surface length (ESL) was measured in the dorsum linguae. After measurement with a computed image processing system at a magnification of x20, the mean epithelial thickness was calculated. LCs were identified by an immunohistochemical stain with anti-S-100 protein polyclonal antibody and Fontana-Masson's stain. The number of LCs was counted in the measured ESA at a magnification of x400. LC density per mm ESL and per mm2 ESA was calculated. The lingual epithelium in the older age groups was significantly thinner than that in the younger age groups. The LC density per mm ESL and per mm2 ESA in the older age groups was significantly lower than that in the younger age groups. These results suggest that both physical and immunological defenses of the lingual mucosa might be compromised in old age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging* / immunology
  • Anthropometry
  • Cell Count
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Langerhans Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tongue / cytology*
  • Tongue / embryology
  • Tongue / growth & development
  • Tongue / immunology