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V.A. Kinsler, G. Anderson, B. Latimer, D. Natarajan, E. Healy, G.E. Moore and N.J. Sebire Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural features of congenital melanocytic naevus cells support a stem-cell phenotype British Journal of Dermatology 169

Version of Record online: 13 AUG 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/bjd.12323

What's already known about this topic?

  • The cell of origin of congenital melanocytic naevi (CMN) is not known.

  • Theoretical candidates proposed include mature basal layer melanocytes, direct precursors of the melanocytes destined for the basal layer (melanoblasts), or stem cells residing within the dermis.

  • In recent years stem cells have been isolated from human hair follicles, and from non-hair-bearing dermis.

What does this study add?

  • A normal melanocyte population overlies many dermal CMN, leading us to hypothesize that in these cases CMN are likely to develop from a cell present in the skin independent of, or remaining after, normal melanocytic migration.

  • Immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy of CMN cells have identified stem-cell characteristics, with differentiation towards melanocytes in the superficial dermis.

  • These findings support the hypothesis that the cell of origin of CMN could be a cutaneous stem cell.

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