Penile lentiginosis. An ultrastructural study.

A. S. Breathnach, L. Balus, A. Amantea

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This study on five patients has revealed more extensive alterations to melanocytes than previously reported, and emphasizes the fact that depigmentation is an essential element of the condition. In hyperpigmented areas, melanocytes were increased in number along the basal layer of the epithelium, were hyperactive, and in some cases contained bizarre melanosomes. In two cases there was suggestion of a defect in melanosome transfer to keratinocytes. Lymphocytes were closely apposed to melanocytes, and, in hypopigmented areas, were clearly involved in their disintegration. In depigmented areas, there was complete absence of melanocytes and of melanosomes in keratinocytes, and lymphocytes were present in the basal layer. In general, the appearances did not resemble melanoma in situ with spontaneous regression, although a second biopsy of one patient after one year did reveal features of melanocytes suggestive of an early stage of this condition. The study has provided no clear information as to the initial cause of the condition, but the manner of destruction of melanocytes suggests an immune reaction. Neither has it been of assistance in suggesting a more precise name for it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
JournalPigment Cell Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology


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