Micro-anatomy related antigen expression in melanocytic lesions

Clifton B. Meije, Wolter J. Mooi, I. C. Le Poole, Goos N P Van Muijen, Pranab K. Das*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The in situ expression of antigens associated with melanosomes (gp-100), pigmentation (PAA), tyrosinase (TRP-1), melanoma (MAA-1/MAA-2), and HLA-DR was investigated immunohistochemically in frozen archival specimens of common acquired melanocytic naevi, in dysplastic melanocytic naevi, and in lymph node metastases of melanoma. Expression of these antigens was also studied in established cultured normal human melanocytes, naevus-derived melanocytes and melanoma cell lines of varying metastatic potential, by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. Compared with normal melanocytes, melanocytic naevi exhibited increased expression of gp-100, PAA, and TRP-1 in the lesional cells at or very near the dermo-epidermal junction, but with diminishing expression towards the intra-dermal base of the lesions. In contrast, expression of MAA-I and MAA-2 was observed in melanocytes throughout the dermal part of the naevi. Melanocytes located at the basal layer of the epidermis were positive only for gp-100, PAA, and TRP-1 antigens. Dysplastic melanocytic naevi showed staining of gp-100, PAA, TRP-1, HLADR, MAA-1, and MAA-2 of junctional lesional melanocytes, but less intense than that of common acquired naevi. These antigens were not detectable in the dermal part of the dysplastic naevi. Expression of these antigens in lymph node metastases of melanoma was either positive or negative. Similar results regarding antigen expression were observed in all cultured melanocytic cells, both by immunohistochemistry and by flow cytometry. The present data suggest that analysis of these antigens may contribute to the discrimination of common acquired melanocytic naevi from their dysplastic counterparts. Furthermore, variations in the levels of expression in naevi may be consistently related to the micro-anatomy of the lesions, indicating that the microenvironment may have an influence on the expression levels of these antigens in different lesional melanocytes. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-578
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2000


  • Antigen expression
  • Dysplastic naevi
  • Melanocytic naevi
  • Melanoma metastases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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