Primary macular amyloidosis: An ultrastructural approach to diagnosis

Carmelo Schepis, M. Siragusa, M. E. Gagliardi, V. Torre, R. Cicciarello, F. Albiero, V. Cavallari

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Seven cases of primary macular amyloidosis were studied on skin biopsies. The Congo red stain was positive only in three cases, whereas the ultrastructural observation allowed for the detection of amyloid deposits in all biopsies. Fibrillary degeneration of basal keratynocytes was occasionally observed, and regressive changes of keratynocytes and dermal nerve bundles presumably related to the intensity of the scratch trauma were detected in one case. In six biopsies mast cell profiles exhibiting various degrees of degranulation were detected in the dermis. Melanosome aggregates were also observed consistently in dermal macrophages and occasionally in Schwann cells. A variable degree of structural alteration was observed in dermal unmyelinated nerve fibers. Even if the intimate mechanism of amyloid deposition was not explained by the ultrastructural study, this approach is a useful instrument in the differential diagnosis of cutaneous macular hyperpigmented lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Amyloidosis
  • Skin
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Instrumentation


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