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SYMPTOMATIC SUBGEMMAL NEUROGENOUS PLAQUE IN PATIENTS WITH COVID-19: IS THERE AN ASSOCIATION?

BACKGROUND: Subgemmal neurogenous plaques (SNP) are composed of neural structures found in the posterolateral portion of the tongue, rarely biopsied as most of them are asymptomatic or eventually only clinically managed. We aimed to investigate a case series of possible correlation of symptomatic subgemmal neurogenous plaque (SNP) with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

METHODS: Eleven formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded cases from patients with previous confirmed COVID-19 (by RT-PCR) were retrieved from two pathology files. Histological sections were morphologically studied, and then submitted to immunohistochemical reactions against S-100 and neurofilament proteins, neuron-specific enolase, Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), synaptophysin, CD56, Ki67, cytokeratins (7, 8-18, 19, 20), nucleocapsid and spike proteins (SARS-CoV-1; and -2) and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA) antibodies. Clinical data were retrieved from the patients' medical files, including the symptoms and the complete history of the progression of the disease.

RESULTS: The patients who had COVID-19 included in this study experienced painful lesions in the tongue that corresponded to prominent or altered SNP. Microscopically, neural structures were positive for S-100, GFAP and neurofilament protein. And the cellular proliferative index (by Ki-67) was very low.

CONCLUSION: Thus, based on the current results, we hypothesize that symptomatic SNP may be a late manifestation of COVID-19 infection. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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