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Concept: Histology


Confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE) provides real-time histologic imaging of human tissues at a depth of 60-70 μm during endoscopy. pCLE of the extrahepatic bile duct after fluorescein injection demonstrated a reticular pattern within fluorescein-filled sinuses that had no known anatomical correlate. Freezing biopsy tissue before fixation preserved the anatomy of this structure, demonstrating that it is part of the submucosa and a previously unappreciated fluid-filled interstitial space, draining to lymph nodes and supported by a complex network of thick collagen bundles. These bundles are intermittently lined on one side by fibroblast-like cells that stain with endothelial markers and vimentin, although there is a highly unusual and extensive unlined interface between the matrix proteins of the bundles and the surrounding fluid. We observed similar structures in numerous tissues that are subject to intermittent or rhythmic compression, including the submucosae of the entire gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder, the dermis, the peri-bronchial and peri-arterial soft tissues, and fascia. These anatomic structures may be important in cancer metastasis, edema, fibrosis, and mechanical functioning of many or all tissues and organs. In sum, we describe the anatomy and histology of a previously unrecognized, though widespread, macroscopic, fluid-filled space within and between tissues, a novel expansion and specification of the concept of the human interstitium.

Concepts: Cancer, Biology, Lymph node, Liver, Histology, Lymphatic system, Anatomy, Human anatomy


Biological resurfacing of entire articular surfaces represents an important but challenging strategy for treatment of cartilage degeneration that occurs in osteoarthritis. Not only does this approach require anatomically sized and functional engineered cartilage, but the inflammatory environment within an arthritic joint may also inhibit chondrogenesis and induce degradation of native and engineered cartilage. The goal of this study was to use adult stem cells to engineer anatomically shaped, functional cartilage constructs capable of tunable and inducible expression of antiinflammatory molecules, specifically IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). Large (22-mm-diameter) hemispherical scaffolds were fabricated from 3D woven poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers into two different configurations and seeded with human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). Doxycycline (dox)-inducible lentiviral vectors containing eGFP or IL-1Ra transgenes were immobilized to the PCL to transduce ASCs upon seeding, and constructs were cultured in chondrogenic conditions for 28 d. Constructs showed biomimetic cartilage properties and uniform tissue growth while maintaining their anatomic shape throughout culture. IL-1Ra-expressing constructs produced nearly 1 µg/mL of IL-1Ra upon controlled induction with dox. Treatment with IL-1 significantly increased matrix metalloprotease activity in the conditioned media of eGFP-expressing constructs but not in IL-1Ra-expressing constructs. Our findings show that advanced textile manufacturing combined with scaffold-mediated gene delivery can be used to tissue engineer large anatomically shaped cartilage constructs that possess controlled delivery of anticytokine therapy. Importantly, these cartilage constructs have the potential to provide mechanical functionality immediately upon implantation, as they will need to replace a majority, if not the entire joint surface to restore function.

Concepts: Biology, Extracellular matrix, Receptor, Cellular differentiation, Histology, Osteoarthritis, Engineering, Adult stem cell


Neoplasms occur naturally in invertebrates but are not known to develop in tapeworms. We observed nests of monomorphic, undifferentiated cells in samples from lymph-node and lung biopsies in a man infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The morphologic features and invasive behavior of the cells were characteristic of cancer, but their small size suggested a nonhuman origin. A polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assay targeting eukaryotes identified Hymenolepis nana DNA. Although the cells were unrecognizable as tapeworm tissue, immunohistochemical staining and probe hybridization labeled the cells in situ. Comparative deep sequencing identified H. nana structural genomic variants that are compatible with mutations described in cancer. Invasion of human tissue by abnormal, proliferating, genetically altered tapeworm cells is a novel disease mechanism that links infection and cancer.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Cancer, Infectious disease, Genome, Histology


Detailed anatomical understanding of the human brain is essential for unraveling its functional architecture, yet current reference atlases have major limitations in terms of lack of whole-brain coverage, relatively low image resolution, and sparse structural annotation. We present the first digital human brain atlas to incorporate neuroimaging, high-resolution histology, and chemoarchitecture across a complete adult female brain, consisting of MRI, DWI, and 1356 large-format cellular resolution (1 µm/pixel) Nissl and immunohistochemistry anatomical plates. The atlas is comprehensively annotated for 862 structures, including 117 white matter tracts and several novel cyto- and chemoarchitecturally defined structures, and these annotations were transferred onto the matching MRI dataset. Neocortical delineations were done for sulci, gyri, and modified Brodmann areas to link macroscopic anatomical and microscopic cytoarchitectural parcellations. Correlated neuroimaging and histological structural delineation allowed fine feature identification in MRI data and subsequent structural identification in MRI data from other brains. This interactive online digital atlas is integrated with existing Allen Institute for Brain Science gene expression atlases and is publicly accessible as a resource for the neuroscience community. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Gene, Neuroanatomy, Brain, Histology, Human brain, Cerebral cortex, Cerebellum, Annotation


The purpose of this study is to report two cases of idiopathic uveitis with secondary epiretinal membrane (ERM) formation in order to describe histologic and immunohistochemical features that may help distinguish uveitic from idiopathic ERMs.

Concepts: Medical terms, Cell membrane, Histology, Immunohistochemistry, Epiretinal membrane, Membrane


Spinal ligaments, such as the ligamentum flavum (LF), are prone to degeneration and iatrogenic injury that can lead to back pain and nerve dysfunction. Repair and regeneration strategies for these tissues are lacking, perhaps due to limited understanding of spinal ligament formation, the elaboration of its elastic fibers, maturation and homeostasis. Using immunohistochemistry and histology, we investigated murine LF elastogenesis and tissue formation from embryonic to mature postnatal stages. We characterized the spatiotemporal distribution of the key elastogenic proteins tropoelastin, fibrillin-1, fibulin-4 and lysyl oxidase. We found that elastogenesis begins in utero with the microfibril constituent fibrillin-1 staining intensely just before birth. Elastic fibers were first detected histologically at postnatal day (P) 7, the earliest stage at which tropoelastin and fibulin-4 stained intensely. From P7 to P28, elastic fibers grew in diameter and became straighter along the axis. The growth of elastic fibers coincided with intense staining of tropoelastin and fibulin-4 staining, possibly supporting a chaperone role for fibulin-4. These expression patterns correlated with reported skeletal and behavioral changes during murine development. This immunohistochemical characterization of elastogenesis of the LF will be useful for future studies investigating mechanisms for elastogenesis and developing new strategies for treatment or regeneration of spinal ligaments and other highly elastic tissues.

Concepts: Liver, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Osteoarthritis, Immunohistochemistry, Staining, Ligament, Microtome


Anterior gradient homolog 2 (AGR2) is a functional protein with critical roles in a diverse range of biological systems, including vertebrate tissue development, inflammatory tissue injury responses, and cancer progression. Clinical studies have shown that the AGR2 protein is overexpressed in a wide range of human cancers, including carcinomas of the esophagus, pancreas, breast, prostate, and lung, making the protein as a potential cancer biomarker. However, the general biochemical functions of AGR2 in human cells remain undefined, and the signaling mechanisms that drive AGR2 to inhibit p53 are still not clearly illustrated. Therefore, it is of great interest to develop molecular probes specifically recognizing AGR2 for its detection and for the elucidation of AGR2-associated molecular mechanism.

Concepts: DNA, Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Molecular biology, Lung cancer, Histology, Carcinoma


In the present case of postoperative lumbar spinal stenosis after non-instrumented intertransverse fusion with granules of hydroxyapatite (HA), bone union was not completed and the patient felt the recurrence of his symptoms within two years. We performed re-decompression with fusion, and in hematoxylin and eosin staining of HA granulation harvested during revision surgery, fibrous tissue with hyaline degeneration surrounded the cavity where the HA had existed. Multinuclear giant cells and lymphocytes infiltrated some parts of the marginal layer of the cavity, and no obvious bony bridge had regenerated from autologous bone. No tartrate-resistant acid phosphate (TRAP) -positive osteoclasts could be seen in the new bone, suggesting that the activity of osteoclasts in the new bone decreased during the seven years after the primary surgery.Virtual slidesThe virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:

Concepts: Present, Bone, Medical terms, Histology, Phosphate, Spinal stenosis


Formalin fixation is a mainstay of modern histopathologic analysis, yet the practice is poorly standardized and a significant potential source of preanalytical errors. Concerns of workflow and turnaround time drive interest in developing shorter fixation protocols, but rapid protocols can lead to poor histomorphology or inadequate downstream assay results. Additionally, assays such as immunohistochemistry for phosphorylated epitopes have historically been challenging in the context of formalin-fixed tissue, indicating that there may be room for improvement in this process that is fundamental to the practice of anatomic pathology. With these issues in mind, we studied basic formalin biochemistry to develop a novel formalin fixation protocol that involves a pre-incubation in subambient temperature formalin prior to a brief exposure to heated formalin. This new protocol is more rapid than standard protocols yet preserves histomorphology and yields tissue that is compatible with an expanded set of downstream clinical and research assays, including immunohistochemistry for phosphorylated epitopes.

Concepts: Biology, Pathology, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Histopathology, Greek loanwords, Immunohistochemistry, Formaldehyde


A 2-month old foal with septic shock and severe respiratory distress was referred to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Due to poor prognosis, the foal was euthanized. Histopathology showed lesions suggestive of Rhodococcus equi infection associated with a diffuse interstitial infiltrate of foamy macrophages and syncytial cells presenting large acidophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies, fibrin exudates and hyaline membranes. Bacteriological examination from lung and respiratory exudates confirmed R. equi infection, whilst immunohistochemistry and PCR yielded a positive result for Equid herpesvirus type 1(EHV-1). Several etiologies have been proposed for bronchointerstitial pneumonia in foals, although a multifactorial origin for this lesional pattern could be possible. This work is the first one describing a combined EHV-1 and R. equi infection in a foal affected with bronchointerstitial pneumonia.

Concepts: Bacteria, Pulmonology, Microbiology, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Cytomegalovirus, Inclusion bodies