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J Cutan Pathol. 1991 Jun;18(3):164-77.

Meningoceles, meningomyeloceles, and encephaloceles: a neuro-dermatopathologic study of 132 cases.

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Department of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


Because there have been few comprehensive histopathologic studies of meningomyeloceles and related malformations, we undertook a systematic study of these lesions. One hundred and thirty two cases were obtained from our surgical pathology files; these included 38 meningoceles, 71 meningomyeloceles, and 23 encephaloceles. Tissue sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin; special stains included trichrome, alcian blue, Fontana-Masson, Nissl, Holzer, and immunoperoxidase for glial fibrillary acidic protein. Epithelial changes included ulceration, atrophy, or nevoid hyperplasia of the epidermis, and loss of appendages. Mesodermal features included fibrous zones resembling dura, subarachnoid tissue or scar (99% of cases), increased numbers of blood vessels (83%), hypertrophy of arrector pili muscle (42%), lipoma formation (38%), and immature skeletal muscle fibers (5%) that rarely intermingled with neuropil-like matrix. The latter tissue was identified in 71% of cases and included neurons, astrocytes, oligodendroglia, and ependyma. Forty-eight percent of cases included peripheral nerve fibers or roots, and some fibers formed onion bulb or Pacinian corpuscle-like structures. Meningothelial cells were observed in 26% of cases and sometimes formed recognizable whorls. Choroid plexus was noted in 3 cases, one example showing an unusual dystrophic calcification that formed long parallel spicules. Pigmented dendritic cells were observed within zones of fibrous tissue in 10% of cases. These malformations involve complex arrangements of cutaneous, neuroectodermal, and mesodermal elements. Because they may be encountered by dermatopathologists, familiarity with the microscopic features of dysraphic lesions is essential.

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