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Hum Pathol. 1998 May;29(5):463-8.

Amyloid myopathy: clinicopathologic study of 16 cases.

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Department of Anatomic Pathology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195, USA.


Amyloid deposition in skeletal muscle is a well-recognized but rare occurrence. Sixteen such cases seen in a 17-year period (1979 to 1996) out of a total of 3,937 muscle biopsy specimens (0.004%) form this study group. Either Congo red or sulfated alcian blue stains were routinely performed in each biopsy to screen for amyloid. Patients in this study (eight men, eight women) ranged in age from 42 to 90 years (mean, 61 years) at initial presentation. The most common symptoms at presentation included weakness/fatigue (n = 10), autonomic symptoms (n = 8), and weight loss/decreased appetite (n = 7). Five patients had a concomitant malignancy (myeloma, n = 3; malignant carcinoid tumor, n = 1; melanoma, n = 1). Two patients had known hereditary forms of amyloidosis. Five patients had amyloid diagnosed on another organ biopsy (excluding peripheral nerve). Histologically, amyloid was deposited in the interstitium or perivascular region in 14 muscles and endomysial region in seven muscles. All cases were confirmed with Congo red staining (apple green birefringence) or by electron microscopic identification of fibrillary amyloid material. Scattered angular atrophic esterase-positive muscle myofibers indicative of acute denervation atrophy were seen in 14 muscles. Eight muscles showed small group atrophy, and seven showed myofiber type grouping. Scattered regenerating muscle fibers were seen in nine cases, degenerating myofibers in six, and foci of chronic endomysial and perivascular inflammation in two. Four muscles showed type II muscle fiber atrophy. A concomitant sural nerve biopsy specimen was evaluated in seven patients; all seven contained amyloid, confirmed either by Congo red staining or electron microscopic examination. In two nerves, there was a mild loss of myelinated axons; four had a moderate loss, and one, severe loss. Six of seven nerves showed predominantly axonopathic changes. In conclusion, (1) the prevalence rate of amyloid myopathy in muscle biopsy specimens was low (in this series, 0.004%); (2) only a minority of patients had multiple myeloma, and most presented with muscle weakness/fatigue or autonomic symptoms; (3) most of the muscles showed neurogenic features histologically; (4) all concomitant sural nerve biopsy specimens contained amyloid, and most showed a predominance of axonopathic changes.

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