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Immunoperoxidase staining for involucrin: a potential diagnostic aid in cervicovaginal pathology.


Involucrin, a protein subunit of keratinocyte cross-linked envelopes, is a distinctive marker for suprabasal differentiation in stratified squamous epithelium. Immunoperoxidase staining for involucrin was used to evaluate paraffin sections of tissue obtained by colposcopically directed biopsies of infectious, metaplastic, and dysplastic lesions of the cervix and vagina. Areas of normal squamous epithelium, papillary and flat condyloma acuminatum, and mature and immature squamous metaplasia showed positive staining in 99 per cent of samples lacking significant inflammation and in 60 per cent of those with moderate or severe inflammation. In contrast, only 19 per cent of the squamous cell dysplasias, even those without much inflammation, showed positive staining, and no area with moderate or severe inflammation showed positive staining. These findings indicate that expression of involucrin is modulated by cellular pathologic features and microenvironment. We suggest that immunoperoxidase staining for involucrin may be useful in distinguishing mild dysplasia from immature metaplasia and flat condyloma in some biopsy specimens in which routine histologic examination yields an indeterminate diagnosis.

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