The lesion is a white patch, which almost exclusively occurs on the lateral surfaces of the tongue, although rarely it may occur on the buccal mucosa , soft palate , pharynx or esophagus. The texture is vertically corrugated "hairy" or thickly furrowed and shaggy in appearance. After the primary EBV infection has been overcome, the virus will persist for the rest of the host's life and "hides" from the immune system by latent infection of B lymphocytes. Uncontrolled lytic infection is manifested as oral hairy leukoplakia in immunocompromised hosts. OHL may also accompany chronic graft versus host disease. Diagnosis of OHL is mainly clinical, but can be supported by proof of EBV in the lesion achieved by in situ hybridization , polymerase chain reaction , immunohistochemistry , Southern blotting , or electron microscopy and HIV serotesting.
Epstein-Barr Virus and Its Association with Oral Hairy Leukoplakia: A Short Review
Abstract Oral hairy leukoplakia OHL is a white, hyperplastic, vertically corrugated lesion that occurs on the lateral border of the tongue, usually unilateral. Caused by the Epstein—Barr Virus EBV , the lesion is said to be an early indicator of an immune deficiency status, thereby unmasking subclinical systemic conditions. OHL mimics many other white lesions of the oral cavity; therefore, it becomes imperative to identify the lesion. This study used exfoliative cytology, a noninvasive procedure, which helped in identifying the cellular changes brought about by the virus in the oral epithelium.
Twenty-eight patients were clinically suspected of having OHL and underwent biopsy for confirmation of diagnosis. Clinically, none of the lesions showed expressive increase in the epithelial keratinization or significant elevation of the affected mucosa Figure 1. The histological characteristics taken into consideration were the following:
Leukoplakia Leukoplakia Leukoplakia appears as thick, white patches on the inside surfaces of your mouth. It has a number of possible causes, including repeated injury or irritation. It can also be a sign of precancerous changes in the mouth or mouth cancer. With leukoplakia loo-koh-PLAY-key-uh , thickened, white patches form on your gums, the insides of your cheeks, the bottom of your mouth and, sometimes, your tongue. These patches can't be scraped off.