Study on Mucin in Normal-Appearing Leg Skin

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Abstract

Dermal deposits of mucin in the legs have been described associated with venous insufficiency. However, some degree of stasis dermatitis is generally common in aged individuals. Therefore, some amount of mucin is expected a priori in the reticular dermis of aged patients, even in the absence of clinical lesions. To test this hypothesis, the authors investigated the mucin in the legs of aged individuals without any dermatologic disease. Cutaneous samples were taken from the legs of 15 autopsy cases. A sample of the skin of the legs (either from the left or the right leg without any distinction being made) was randomly taken (without selecting any specific area or attending to macroscopical features). The skin samples were fixed in formaldehyde, and sections obtained from all samples were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, iron, and Alcian blue. Iron deposits were graded as 0/4 in 7 cases, as 1/4 in 4 cases, as 2/4 in 2 cases, and as 4/4 in 2 cases. Cases with greater deposits of iron also had other signs of stasis, such as neovascularization. All the samples scored 0 for dermal mucin deposits in the reticular dermis. The authors conclude that mucin deposits in the legs are not inherent to aging. Therefore, any mucin deposit in the reticular dermis, as well as expansion of the periadnexal dermis by mucin deposits, should be considered abnormal.

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