The oral signs and symptoms in 32 patients with systemic sclerosis were evaluated. Oral mucosal telangiectasia was present in 18 cases (56.3%) and was not restricted to the limited form of systemic sclerosis. The interincisal distance was significantly decreased in the patients with systemic sclerosis compared with the 17 controls (p < 0.001). The distance between the vermillion borders was also significantly decreased when the 14 patients with salivary hypofunction were compared with the 18 cases without decreased salivary secretion (p < 0.05). Twenty-two (69%) of the patients exhibited keratoconjunctivitis sicca, salivary hypofunction, or both. Lip biopsy was performed in 16 cases. Two cases with inflammatory signs characteristic of Sjögren's syndrome were found, and six patients showed the histologic signs of labial gland fibrosis. Five of these cases belonged to the group of limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis that indicates the generalized nature of the fibrotic processes even in systemic sclerosis with less extensive skin involvement. Of the 10 cases investigated by electron microscopy, all but one showed a thickening of the capillary basal lamina, lamellar arrangement within the basement membrane, or capillary endothelial vacuolization. Three of these cases belonged to the patients with disease onset within 2 years, showing that capillary vascular lesion is present in the early cases and that vascular injury affects even those tissues that do not seem to be evidently involved by clinical examination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine