In immunocompromised subjects, Epstein-Barr virus EBV infection of terminally differentiated oral keratinocytes may result in subclinical productive infection of the virus in the stratum spinosum and in the stratum granulosum with shedding of infectious virions into the oral fluid in the desquamating cells. In a minority of cases this productive infection with dysregulation of the cell cycle of terminally differentiated epithelial cells may manifest as oral hairy leukoplakia. This is a white, hyperkeratotic, benign lesion of low morbidity, affecting primarily the lateral border of the tongue. Factors that determine whether productive EBV replication within the oral epithelium will cause oral hairy leukoplakia include the fitness of local immune responses, the profile of EBV gene expression, and local environmental factors. Its surface may be flat, vertically corrugated, or frankly hairy, and it affects severely immunocompromised subjects, most notably those infected with HIV [ 1 — 3 ]. Mild oral hairy leukoplakia of the lateral border of the right side of tongue in a year-old HIV-seropositive female.
What to know about leukoplakia
Oral Hairy Leukoplakia (OHL) - POZ
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Mouth irritants and irritating activities, such as smoking, often cause leukoplakia. Doctors can usually differentiate leukoplakia from other similar benign plaques and patches in the mouth by doing an exam. Doctors consider leukoplakia a precancerous lesion and may recommend a biopsy to rule out cancer. The World Health Organization WHO define leukoplakia as "A predominantly white patch or plaque that cannot be characterized clinically or pathologically as any other disorder. In this article, we explain the symptoms, when to see a doctor, and the risk factors of the condition.
The symptoms of oral hairy leukoplakia may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Oral hairy leukoplakia patches are easy to identify. Healthcare providers can often diagnose it from a physical exam alone. Oral candidiasis, or thrush, can be similar in appearance.