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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2005 Mar;64(3):181-93.

Diagnostic immunohistology of muscle diseases.

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Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA.


The diagnostic muscle biopsy has seen the use of virtually every histologic technique in existence over the past 50 years. Since the 1960s, enzyme histochemistry has become the chief technique in evaluating muscle biopsies. However, the increasing knowledge of cellular constituents and associated connective tissue of the myofiber coupled with the increasing availability of a broad diversity of antibodies to these proteins promises to bring the diagnosis of muscle disease to the same state of dependency upon immunohistochemistry as in the contemporary pathologic diagnosis of neoplasia. Immunohistochemistry may be used for both the identification of normal antigenic constituents in skeletal muscle and their loss, accumulation, or maldistribution in corresponding myopathies, sometimes with small biopsies or lacking frozen tissue, in paraffin sections. Three broad categories of muscle diseases will be characterized in terms of diagnostic antibodies in current use: dystrophic, congenital/structural, and inflammatory myopathies.

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