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Studies on subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn

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Biopsy specimens from the skin and subcutaneous fat tissue of four cases with neonatal subcutaneous fat necrosis were made and investigated by light and electron microscopy at 2, 4, and 6 weeks, and 5 months (Case 2) from the onset of the disease. Three stages of ultrastructural change of fat cells were observed. The evolution of crystal formation in the fat cells was seen and phagocytosis of crystals and fat droplets by macrophages and foreign-body giant cells was also noted. In the light microscope accumulation of calcium concretions in the spaces between and inside the fat cells was found. In the electron microscope we detected foci of highly electrondense granules, which were similar in distribution and structure to calcium salts stained with the von Kossa method. Changes in small and medium size blood vessels were observed.

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This work was written during a stay supported by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft from Dec. 1. 1973 to March 31. 1975 in the Max-Planck-Institut für Klinische und Physiologische Forschung (W.G. Kerckhoff-Institut), Bad Nauheim, West Germany (Director: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schaper)

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Pasyk, K. Studies on subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn. Virchows Arch. A Path. Anat. and Histol. 379, 243–259 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00432639

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Key words

  • Electron microscopy of fat necrosis newborn
  • Crystallization of fat cell
  • Calcium deposition
  • Blood vessels