Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Comparison of various basement membrane components in benign and malignant peripheral nerve tumours

  • 44 Accesses

  • 27 Citations


Immunohistochemical methods were used to analyse benign and malignant tumours of peripheral nerve tissue. We tested for the distribution of basement membrane (BM) components collagen IV, laminin, heparan sulphate proteoglycan, fibronectin, for S100 protein and for the presence of interstitial collagens III and V. Laminin was generally noted in association with Schwann cells, but collagen IV occurred with perineural cells. When tested for BM components, fibroblasts were notably non-reactive except for fibronectin. Three specific area-dependent BM patterns were observed in the benign tumours: (a) Schwann cell-like, in fascicular areas (Antoni A areas of schwannoma, central fibrous bundles of plexiform neurofibromas and central areas of cutaneous neurofibroma), (b) perineural cell-like (capsular structures of schwannoma) and (c) fibroblast-like (myxoid and fibrously transformed areas). Most malignant tissues showed a variably fragmentary focal deposition of laminin. Other BM components were present only in well-differentiated areas. Poorly differentiated tumours demonstrated fibronectin reactivity alone. Our results provide evidence that the specific staining pattern for BM components helps to differentiate the various cellular proliferations in neurogenic tumours. Schwann cells are not only distinguishable from perineural cells by S100 protein staining, but also by their specific BM staining. In additon, perineural cells can be separated from fibroblasts, which do not express BM material. The “tropism” of laminin in normal nerves and benign neural tumours — which persists in neurogenic sarcomas — indicates preferential Schwann cell differentiation in these cells.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Barsky SH, Rao NC, Restrepo C, Liotta LA (1981) Immunocytochemical enhancement of basement membrane antigens by pepsin: application in diagnostic pathology. Am J Clin Pathol 82:191–194

  2. Bunge MB, Clark MB, Dean AC, Eldridge CF, Bunge RP (1990) Schwann cell function depends upon axonal signals and basal lamina components. Ann NY Acad Sci 540:281–287

  3. Dziadek H, Edgar D, Paulsson M, Timpl R, Fleischmajer R (1986) Basement membrane proteins produced by Schwann cells and in neurofibromas. Ann NY Acad Sci 460:248–259

  4. Enzinger FM, Weiss SW (1988) Soft tissue tumors. 2nd edn, Mosby, St. Louis

  5. Erlandson RA, Woodruff M (1982) Peripheral nerve sheath tumors. An electron microscopic study of 43 cases. Cancer 49:273–287

  6. Fleischmajer R, Timpl R, Dziadek M, Lebwohl M (1985) Basement membrane proteins, interstitial collagens and fibronectin in neurofibroma. J Invest Dermatol 85:54–59

  7. Gay RE, Gay S, Jones RE (1983) Histological and immunohistological identification of collagens in basement membranes of Schwann cells of neurofibromas. Am J Dermatopathol 5:317–325

  8. Hsu SM, Raine L, Fanger H (1981) A comparative study of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase method and an avidin-biotin complex method for studying polypeptide hormones with radioimmunoassay antibodies. Am J Clin Pathol 75:734–739

  9. Jaakola S, Peltonen J, Riccardi V, Chu ML, Uitto J (1989) Type 1 neurofibromatosis: selective expression of extracellular matrix genes by Schwann cells, perineural cells, and fibroblasts in mixed cultures. J Clin Invest 84:253–261

  10. Matsunou H, Shimoda T, Kakimoto S, Yamashita H, Ishikawa E, Mukai M (1985) Histopathologic and immunohistochemical study of malignant tumors of peripheral nerve sheath (malignant schwannoma). Cancer 56:2269–2279

  11. Mei Lin H (1988) Collagens in nervous tissue. In: Nimni M (ed) Collagen, vol 1, CRC Press, New York, pp 243–256

  12. Miettinen M, Foidart JM, Ekblom P (1983) Immunohistochemical demonstration of laminin, a major glycoprotein of basement membranes and its aid in the diagnosis of soft tissue tumors. Am J Clin Pathol 77:306–311

  13. Nerlich A, Schleicher E (1991) Immunohistochemical localization of various extracellular matrix components in human diabetic nephropathy. Am J Pathol 139:889–899

  14. Nerlich A, Zietz C, Schleicher E (1991) Distribution of basement membrane-associated heparan sulfate proteoglycan in idiopathic and AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma. Pathol Res Pract 187:444–450

  15. Oda Y, Kawahara E, Minamoto T, Ueda Y, Ikeda K, Nagai Y, Nakanishi I (1988) Immunohistochemical studies on the tissue localization of collagen types I, III, IV, V and VI in schwannomas. Virchows Arch [B] 56:153–163

  16. Ogawa K, Oguchi M, Yamabe H, Nakashima Y, Hamashima Y (1986) Distribution of collagen type IV in soft tissue tumors. Cancer 58:269–277

  17. Peltonen J, Penttinen R, Larjava H, Aho HJ (1986) Collagens in neurofibromas and neurofibroma cell cultures. Ann NY Acad Sci 486:260–270

  18. Reibel J, Wewer U, Albrechtsen R (1985) The pattern of distribution of lamnin in neurogenic tumors, granular cell tumors and nevi of oral mucosa. Acta Pathol Microbiol Immunol Scand [A] 93:41–47

  19. Schleicher E, Wagner E, Olgemöller B, Nerlich A, Gerbitz KD (1989) Characterization and localization of basement membrane associated heparan sulfate proteoglycan in human tissues. Lab Invest 61:323–332

  20. Shellswell GB, Restall J, Duance VC, Bailey AJ (1979) Identification and differential distribution of collagen types in the central and peripheral nervous system. FEBS Lett 106:305–309

  21. Timpl R (1989) Structure and biological activity of basement membrane proteins. Eur J Biochem 180:487–502

  22. Timpl R, Wick G, Gay S (1977) Antibodies to distinct types of collagens and procollagens and their application in immunohistology. J Immunol Meth 18:165–175

  23. Weber L, Krieg T (1984) Basement membrane components in cutaneous neurofibroma of von Recklinghausen's disease. Arch Dermatol Res 276:335–337

  24. Weiss SW, Langloss JM, Enzinger FM (1983) Value of S100 protein in the diagnosis of soft tissue tumors with particular reference to benign and malignant Schwann cell tumors. Lab Invest 49:299–308

  25. Wick MR, Swanson PE, Scheithauer BW, Manivel JC (1987) Malignant peripheral nerva sheath tumor. Am J Clin Pathol 87:425–433

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Andreas G. Nerlich.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Haraida, S., Nerlich, A.G., Bise, K. et al. Comparison of various basement membrane components in benign and malignant peripheral nerve tumours. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 421, 331–338 (1992).

Download citation

Key words

  • Basement membrane
  • Schwannoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Malignant Schwannoma
  • Collagen IV