Human vaginal epithelium and the epithelial lining of a cyst model constructed from it: a comparative light microscopic and electron microscopic study.
The light microscopic features and keratin filament distribution of human vaginal epithelium resemble those of buccal mucosa. We used vaginal epithelium to establish a human cyst model in immunodeficient mice. To strengthen the view that this experimental cyst is a suitable model to study mucosal diseases, we compared specific light microscopic and ultra-structural features of vaginal epithelium and the epithelial lining of the cyst. Nineteen cyst walls and 6 specimens of vaginal mucosa, which had been used to establish the cysts, were examined. We counted the number of cell layers of 17 cyst linings and the 6 vaginal specimens. Surface keratinisation was evaluated on sections stained with the Picro-Mallory method. To demonstrate intercellular lamellae and membrane coating granules 2 cyst linings were examined ultra-structurally. The epithelium lining of the cyst wall was thinner than that of vaginal mucosa but the surface keratinisation and ultra-structural features of the intercellular lamellae and membrane coating granules were similar. We concluded that vaginal mucosa is a useful substitute for oral mucosa in the cyst model.