Inflammatory Mediators in Xanthelasma Palpebrarum: Histopathologic and Immunohistochemical Study

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To evaluate the expression of inflammatory mediators in xanthelasma palpebrarum.


In this retrospective histopathologic case–control study, xanthelasma specimens obtained from the private practice and pathology archives of 1 author (R.Z.S.) were analyzed and compared with the blepharoplasty tissues from age- and sex-matched controls. Paraffin-embedded tissue sections were stained with hematoxylin–eosin and CD3, CD20, CD163, cyclooxygenase-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, matrix metallopeptidase-9, and myeloperoxidase antibodies. Immunostaining was quantified by light microscopy and with a computerized image analysis system of scanned images.


Hematoxylin–eosin-stained preparations of xanthelasma specimens demonstrated significantly more intense chronic lymphocytic infiltrate when compared with the control blepharoplasty tissues (p < 0.001). Immunohistochemical studies revealed more intense CD3+ T cell and CD163+ histiocytic infiltrate (11% vs. 5%; p = 0.02 and 28% vs. 5%; p = 0.003, respectively) and increased expression of cyclooxygenase-1 (44% vs. 20% expressing cells; p < 0.001 and 21% vs. 9% strongly expressing cells; p = 0.008) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (43% vs. 26% expressing cells; p = 0.03 and 42% vs. 25% strongly expressing cells; p = 0.02) in xanthelasma specimens compared with control tissues.


The inflammatory milieu in xanthelasma appears to be analogous to descriptions of the early stages of cardiac atherosclerotic plaque formation. These findings may contribute to the understanding of xanthelasma pathogenesis and to the development of potential targeted therapies.

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