Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Immunohistochemical Study of Calretinin in Normal Skin and Cutaneous Adnexal Proliferations

González-Guerra, Elena MD*; Kutzner, Heinz MD; Rutten, Arno MD; Requena, Luis MD*

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: July 2012 - Volume 34 - Issue 5 - p 491–505
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e31823aded5
Original Study

Abstract: Calretinin is a calcium-binding protein member of the EF-hand family. The presence of calretinin has been demonstrated in certain stages of the cellular cycle in a wide variety of normal and neoplastic tissues. The main aims of our study were (1) to investigate what structures of the normal skin and cutaneous adnexal proliferations express immunoreactivity for calretinin and (2) to determine the value of immunohistochemical expression for calretinin as a marker for follicular, sebaceous, apocrine, and eccrine differentiation in cutaneous adnexal proliferations. We studied 139 biopsy specimens, including 10 cases of normal skin of different locations and 129 benign and malignant cutaneous adnexal proliferations. In normal skin, we found that calretinin is expressed in the innermost cell layer of the outer root sheath in anagen hair follicle, in both the duct and sebolemma of the sebaceous gland, in the secretory portion of eccrine glands, and in mast cells of the stroma. In cutaneous adnexal proliferations, we found strong immunoreactivity for calretinin in tricholemmal cysts, tricholemmomas/inverted follicular keratoses, tumors of follicular infundibulum, and in some basal cell carcinomas. Focal positivity was also seen in trichoadenomas, trichoblastomas/trichoepitheliomas, pilomatricomas, proliferating tricholemmal tumors, pilar sheath acanthomas, trichofolliculomas, follicular hybrid cysts, cutaneous mixed tumors, steatocystomas, sebaceous hyperplasias, and sebaceomas. These results demonstrate that immunohistochemical study for calretinin may be helpful to identify the innermost cell layer of the outer root sheath in anagen hair follicle and the cutaneous adnexal proliferations showing differentiation toward this structure. Calretinin immunoreactivity supports eccrine differentiation in some sweat gland neoplasms, and it is also useful in identifying neoplasms with ductal sebaceous differentiation.

*Department of Dermatology, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain

Dermatopathologische Gemeinschaftslabor, Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

Reprints: Luis Requena, MD, Department of Dermatology, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Avanida Reyes Católicos 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain (e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.