The value of exfoliative cytology in the diagnostic of oral mucosa changes in diabetes mellitus

Vol. 57 No. 4, 2016


Stefan-Claudiu Mirescu, Rodica Pais, Bogdan-Petre Stanoiu, Luca Di Natale, Alina Simona Sovrea

In this study, we performed microscopic qualitative analyses of the oral epithelium cytological smears in potential early phase of diabetes and in type 1 and 2 diabetic patients versus a healthy control group. The cytological assessment of the oral changes was realized on superficial and profound smears, from jugal and ventral tongue mucosa and it was based on the comparison between three staining methods [Papanicolaou, APT (polychrome tannin blue)-Dragan and Hematoxylin-Eosin (HE)]. Cytological changes of oral cells population were correlated with the type, duration and complications of diabetes. Oral flora was also evaluated. Irrespective the staining used, we found a clear dividing line between the control group and the real diabetic patients. In all diabetes cases (independently of the type of smear, harvest site, clinical form of disorder and present complications), cells presented alterations both at the level of cytoplasm and nucleus. Dyschromasia, cytolysis, different degrees of fatty degenerescence, binucleated cells, hyperchromasia, nuclear enlargement with modified nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, were the most frequent findings. There were no discrepancies in the cellular aspects of type 1 or 2 diabetic patients smears or between the control group and the potential prediabetic status patients. Findings were interpreted as oral epithelium reactive changes induced by the disease. We concluded that exfoliative cytology alone is of low value as a diagnostic and prognostic tool in the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM); it detects the reactive changes induced by the disease, but it makes no differences between DM types or degree of severity and does not allow by qualitative analysis alone to detect abnormalities in early diabetes.

Corresponding author: Bogdan-Petre Stanoiu, Lecturer, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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