Immunohistochemical and electron microscopical characterization of stromal cells in nasopharyngeal angiofibromas
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Twenty-eight cases of nasopharyngeal angiofibroma were studied immunohistochemically for cytoskeletal phenotyping of stromal cells. Electron microscopy was also used to study the ultrastructure of five of the tumors. All typical stromal cells showed intensive immunostaining for vimentin, but were negative for smooth muscle actin and desmin. Ultrastructurally, most of these cells appeared to be exclusively fibroblasts. However, in some areas stromal cells were seen that morphologically resembled myofibroblasts by their shapes and arrangement, and were characterized by the coexpression of vimentin and smooth muscle actin. Electron microscopy confirmed their myofibroblastic nature. The present study showed that the typical stromal cells in nasopharyngeal angiofibromas were fibroblasts and not myofibroblasts. In these tumors myofibroblasts occurred only focally, in connection with fibrotic areas and exclusively as a vimentin+/actin+ cytoskeletal phenotype. This indicates that myofibroblasts are not primary stromal tumor cells in nasopharyngeal angiofibromas, but occur due to regressive changes.
Key wordsNasopharyngeal angiofibroma Ultrastructure Myofibroblast Immunohistochemistry Electron microscopy
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