Pathogenesis of multifocal micronodular pneumocyte hyperplasia and lymphangioleiomyomatosis in tuberous sclerosis and association with tuberous sclerosis genes TSC1 and TSC2

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Tuberous sclerosis (TSC) is a rare, genetically determined disorder / familial tumor syndrome, currently diagnosed using specific clinical criteria proposed by Gomez, including the presence of multiorgan hamartomas. Pulmonary involvement in TSC is well known as pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), which has an incidence of 1–2.3% in TSC patients. LAM has immunohistochemical expression of both smooth-muscle actin and a monoclonal antibody specific for human melanoma, HMB-45. It has recently been reported that multifocal micronodular pneumocyte hyperplasia (MMPH) associated with TSC should be considered as a distinct type of lung lesion, whether it occurs with or without LAM. Two predisposing genes have been found in families affected by TSC; approximately half of the families show linkage to TSC1 at 9q34.3, and the other half show linkage to TSC2 at 16p13.3. TSC genes are considered to be tumor suppressor genes, and mutations in them may lead to abnormal differentiation and proliferation of cells. Tuberin, the TSC2 gene product, has recently been found to be expressed in LAM and MMPH. In this article we discuss the histogenesis and genetic abnormalities of neoplastic lesions associated with TSC, and we review the current understanding of the pathogenesis of pulmonary hamartomatous lesions such as LAM and MMPH in TSC.

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