Oral cavity & oropharynx


Histology-oral cavity

Topic Completed: 1 January 2013

Minor changes: 9 October 2020

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PubMed Search: "Normal histology" oral cavity

Charu Thakral, M.D.
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Cite this page: Thakral C. Histology-oral cavity. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavitynormalhistology.html. Accessed December 6th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Stratified squamous epithelium often with parakeratosis
  • No hair follicles or sweat glands present
  • Keratinization in areas most exposed to mastication (gingiva, hard palate, dorsum of tongue)
  • Lamina propria contains loose connective tissue, mucous glands, serous minor salivary type glands
  • Submucosa has dense collagenous fibrous tissue
  • Oral tongue mucosa: modified keratinized squamous epithelium with small papillae; papillae can be filiform (majority, conical projections of keratinized epithelium), fungiform (rounded elevations, nonkeratinized), foliate (along sides of tongue) or cirucumvallate (at junction of anterior 2/3 and posterior 1/3 tongue, largest papillae)
  • Taste buds: barrel shaped, lightly staining, intramucosal sensory receptors present in large numbers on circumvallate papillae and in lesser numbers elsewhere
  • Intraepithelial nonkeratinocytes: melanocytes (basal), Merkel cells (basal), Langerhans cells (suprabasal) and lymphocytes occur in oral mucosa
  • Ectopic sebaceous glands (Fordyce spots) increase with age in adults
  • Tonsillectomy specimens frequently contain skeletal muscle (Hum Pathol 2000;31:813)

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Filiform papilla

Fungiform papilla

Circumvallate papilla

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