Internal Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-7235
Print ISSN : 0918-2918
ISSN-L : 0918-2918
Phenol Congo Red Staining Enhances the Diagnostic Value of Abdominal Fat Aspiration Biopsy in Reactive AA Amyloidosis Secondary to Rheumatoid Arthritis
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2003 Volume 42 Issue 5 Pages 400-405


Objective Systemic reactive AA amyloidosis is an intractable complication in patients with a long history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To help to more easily and reliably detect the presence of this form of amyloidosis in patients with RA and start intensive treatment as early as possible, we examined the sensitivity and usefulness of abdominal fat aspiration biopsy with phenol Congo red staining in the diagnosis of AA amyloidosis.
Patients and Methods Ten patients were diagnosed with systemic reactive AA amyloidosis secondary to RA (all women; mean age, 70.2±6.4 years; mean disease duration of RA, 20.3±11.2 years) based on histopathological examinations of biopsied specimens mainly from the gastroduodenal mucosa. Abdominal fat aspiration biopsy was performed in these patients, and the specimens were treated with both classical alkaline and phenol Congo red staining.
Results Phenol Congo red staining revealed amyloid deposits in all 10 patients, while conventional alkaline Congo red staining showed a positive result in 7 patients. In the patients with a positive result with alkaline Congo red staining, reactivity of one grade or two higher was demonstrated by the phenol Congo red method.
Conclusion Phenol Congo red staining is superior to the classical alkaline Congo red staining with respect to the detection of AA-amyloid deposits in biopsied abdominal fat tissue specimens. In addition to easy access and procedural safety, abdominal fat aspiration biopsy might contribute reliably to the diagnosis of systemic reactive AA amyloidosis secondary to RA when phenol Congo red staining is employed.
(Internal Medicine 42: 400-405, 2003)

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