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Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1999 Mar;67(1):1-5.

Role of S-100 staining in differentiating leprosy from other granulomatous diseases of the skin.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.


Since Mycobacterium leprae are rarely demonstrable in the tuberculoid spectrum of leprosy, a confirmatory diagnosis of leprosy can be made on the basis of finding active destruction of cutaneous nerves by granulomatous inflammation in a skin biopsy. Immunoperoxidase staining for S-100 protein, which is a marker for Schwann cells, was used to delineate nerves in lesional skin biopsies of 25 patients with tuberculoid and borderline tuberculoid leprosy as well as 15 controls with nonleprous granulomatous inflammation. Four different patterns of nerve damage were observed: infiltrated, fragmented, absent, and intact. All of the nonleprous granulomatous dermatoses showed only intact nerves, either inside or outside the granuloma, and so S-100 staining can be used to rule out leprosy.

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