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Mapping dynamic epithelial cell proliferative activity within the oral cavity of man: a new insight into carcinogenesis?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Thomson


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Our aim was to characterize epithelial cell proliferative activity within the oral cavity and to find out if there were differences between sites with high and low incidence of cancer. A total of 105 samples of clinically normal mucosa were harvested from various intra-oral sites. Excised specimens were incubated in vitro with tritiated thymidine and bromodeoxyuridine to 'double label' cells undergoing DNA synthesis, and enable calculation of the duration of S phase and estimation of variables of cell flux to and from S, Mean labelling indices (percentage of cells within the S phase of the cell cycle) were highest in the floor of mouth (12.3%) and ventral tongue (10.1%), while activity was lowest in the dorsum of tongue (4.3%) and the palate (7.2%), P<0.001. In general, both cell influx and the duration of S increased proportionally to the labelling index. Sites with a high incidence of cancer were characterized by high labelling indices, increased cell influx and a prolonged S phase.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thomson PJ, Potten CS, Appleton DR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Year: 1999

Volume: 37

Issue: 5

Pages: 377-383

Print publication date: 01/10/1999

ISSN (print): 0266-4356

ISSN (electronic): 1532-1940

Publisher: Churchill Livingstone


DOI: 10.1054/bjom.1999.0130


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