Immunohistochemical Study of Specialized Nail Mesenchyme Containing Onychofibroblasts in Transverse Sections of the Nail Unit

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In the frozen longitudinal section of the nail unit, CD10 was previously found in nail mesenchymal cells beneath nail matrix, and we proposed calling the nail mesenchymal cells onychofibroblasts. In this study, to further characterize nail mesenchyme containing onychofibroblasts, we examined the expression of several mesenchymal markers immunohistochemically in transverse paraffin sections of the nail unit. CD10 was strongly expressed in the nail mesenchyme containing onychofibroblasts beneath the nail matrix. However, CD10 was not observed in dermal fibroblasts and surrounding extracellular matrix of the lateral nail fold (LNF), except around blood vessels and eccrine structures. In addition, versican was expressed diffusely in the nail mesenchyme containing onychofibroblasts in contrast to the dermis of LNF. Fibrillin, which is a major component of elastic fiber in the dermis, was expressed very weakly on the nail mesenchyme below the nail matrix but was expressed strongly in the dermis of LNF. These findings support the existence of specialized nail mesenchyme containing onychofibroblasts that is distinguished from the dermis of LNF.

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