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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2010 Apr;134(4):545-51. doi: 10.1043/1543-2165-134.4.545.

Amyloidosis-where are we now and where are we heading?

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Department of Pathology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.



Amyloidoses are disorders of diverse etiology in which deposits of abnormally folded proteins share distinctive staining properties and fibrillar ultrastructural appearance. Amyloidosis ultimately leads to destruction of tissues and progressive disease. With recent advances in the treatment of systemic amyloidoses the importance of an early diagnosis of amyloid, and a correct diagnosis of its type, has been realized.


To summarize current recommendations for the diagnosis of amyloidosis.


Presentation given at the 4th Annual Renal Pathology Society Satellite meeting in Istanbul based on discussions and recommendations formulated during an interactive diagnostic session held at the XIth International Symposium on Amyloidosis in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


Congo red stain is currently the gold standard for amyloid detection and the goal is to detect amyloid early. Diagnosis of the amyloid type must be based on the identification of amyloid protein within the deposits and not solely by reliance on clinical or DNA studies. However, the latter are recommended for confirmation of the amyloid type based on evaluation of the protein in deposits. Immunohistochemistry must be performed and interpreted with caution and inconclusive results must be evaluated further using the more sophisticated methods available in referral centers. An adequate amount and quality of tissue must be available for amyloid diagnosis and typing with emphasis on the use of fresh tissue and greater use of abdominal fat biopsy. The development of new technologies underscores the need for regular review of recommendations and standards for the clinical diagnosis of amyloidosis.

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