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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 81  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 588--593

A morphometric and immunohistochemical study of melanocytes in periorbital hyperpigmentation

1 Department of Pathology, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Pathology, Army College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Dermatology, Command Hospital (Eastern Command), Kolkata, West Bengal, India
4 Department of Dermatology, INHS Asvini, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dibyajyoti Boruah
Department of Pathology, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.168327

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Background: An increase in number of melanocytes in the basal cell layer of the epidermis is an important feature in many disorders of hyperpigmentation. In this study, we attempted an objective evaluation of the linear density of melanocytes and keratinocytes, along with other epidermal characteristics, in periorbital hyperpigmentation using immunohistochemistry and morphometric techniques. Methods: Melanocytes and epidermal parameters were assessed by digital morphometry in 30 newly diagnosed cases of periorbital hyperpigmentation and 14 controls from the post-auricular region. Melanocytes were labelled with the immunohistochemical stains, Melan-A and tyrosinase. We studied the linear keratinocyte density, mean linear melanocyte density, ratio of melanocytes to keratinocytes, the ratio between inner and outer epidermal length, maximum epidermal thickness and minimum epidermal thickness. Results: Melan-A expression of melanocytes showed strong positive correlation (r = 0.883) with the tyrosinase expression. Mean linear melanocyte density was 24/mm (range: 13–30/mm) in cases and 17/mm (13–21/mm) in controls and this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The mean ratio of melanocyte to keratinocyte was 0.22 (0.12–0.29) in cases and 0.16 (0.12–0.21) in controls; again, this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001). There was a mild negative correlation with linear keratinocyte density (r = −0.302) and the ratio between inner and outer epidermal length (r = −0.456). However, there were no differences in epidermal thicknesses. Limitations: There were fewer control biopsies than optimal, and they were not taken from the uninvolved periorbital region. Conclusion: Mean linear melanocyte density and the ratio of melanocytes to keratinocytes is increased in cases with periorbital hyperpigmentation. It is, therefore, likely that increased melanocyte density may be the key factor in the pathogenesis of periorbital hyperpigmentation.


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Online since 15th March '04
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