Langerhans cells (LC) are implicated in the initiation and maintenance of inflammatory periodontal diseases. The purpose of this immunohistological study using morphometric and automated image analysis was to determine the morphological features of CD1a+ LC in healthy and inflammatory gingiva according to their localisation in the upper epithelium or the basal layer. The study was on gingival samples from 11 healthy controls (C), eight patients with gingivitis (G) and 12 patients with severe chronic adult periodontitis (P). The results show that in the basal layer of all experimental groups, the perimeter, surface and equivalent diameter of CD1a+ LC were significantly decreased (P<0.005) when compared with those in the upper epithelium of the same group. Furthermore, CD1a+ LC had become more rounded, reflected by a significant increase in form factor (P<0.005), when located close to the epithelial basal membrane. In the upper epithelium of group P, the perimeter, surface and equivalent diameter of CD1a+ LC were significantly decreased (P<0. 05) and the form factor significantly increased (P<0.05) when compared with the upper epithelium of group C. This work provides evidence for important morphological variations in CD1a+ LC according to their location within the epithelium and the severity of the periodontal disease. The observed morphological changes may reflect a cellular adaptation during the epithelial transmigration and could eventually be involved in immune stimulation during periodontitis.