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Am J Dermatopathol. 2005 Oct;27(5):456-65.

Nevogenesis--new thoughts regarding a classical problem.

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Department of Dermatology, University of L├╝beck, Germany.


The development of melanocytic nevi is a multifactorial and heterogeneous biologic process that involves prenatal and postnatal steps. As a consequence, there are two main perspectives to nevi: that of a hamartoma and that of a benign tumor. In this review, dermatopathological studies on congenital and acquired nevi, including studies on age-related and location-dependent changes, are analyzed. These studies have lead to different hypothetical concepts on the evolution of individual lesions. In the light of findings from experimental embryology and stem cell biology, we discuss the histogenesis of nevi with special reference to the temporospatial sequence of melanocyte-basement membrane interactions and hair follicle genesis. Regarding the mechanisms of postnatal nevus development, epidemiological studies demonstrate the importance of constitutional and environmental influences, especially ultraviolet light. Possible molecular pathways of solar nevogenesis involve ultraviolet-induced alterations of the cellular microenvironment (eg, changes in the expression of cytokines and melanocyte adhesion molecules). Recent results and future directions of clinical and experimental research are presented.

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