A histochemical study on the distribution of melanin in human oral epithelium at six regional sites
Barrett, A. and Beynon, A. (1991) A histochemical study on the distribution of melanin in human oral epithelium at six regional sites. Archives of Oral Biology, 36 (10). pp. 771-774. ISSN 0003-9969
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0003-9969(91)90044-U
Oral mucosa from six sites in 95 autopsies was tested for melanin using the Masson-Fontana silver reduction method. Melanin was detected in 51.6% of labial, 46.3% of palatal, 45.3% of buccal, 28.4% of mandibular gingival, 25.3% of lingual and 21.1% of maxillary gingival samples. 93.7% of epidermal samples from the same population were positive. In 24.2% of the subjects there was no detectable melanin at any intraoral site and 4.2% showed activity in all six sites. The mean number of positive oral sites per individual was 2.2. There are thus regional differences in oral epithelial melanocyte activity, but no parallel with the known regional incidence of primary oral melanoma.