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Melanosis Cerebelli

Elektronenmikroskopische und infrarot-spektrophotometrische Untersuchungen bei der Melanose des Zahnkerns und der cerebellaren Körnerzellschicht

Melanosis cerebelli

Ultrastructure and infrared absorption of the pigment


The pigment present in melanosis cerebelli where it is deposited in the dentate nucleus and within the cerebellar granular layer is similar to that of S. nigra as judged from the typical infrared absorption bands near wave numbers 3.450 cm−1 and 1.650 cm−1, respectively. According to electron microscopic findings, this type of melanin arises within the astrocytes of the dentate nucleus. The astrocytic melanosomes exhibit a relatively monotonous substructure reaching diameters of 30 μ and more, and they differ in this respect from the triadic neuronal melanosomes of S. nigra that are strongly reminiscent of lipofuscin granules. These differences may be due to additional components of melanosomes, apparently specific of a particular cell type, and they are in turn accounted for by the dissimilar cellular metabolic make-up of nigral cells and astrocytes, respectively. This does not dismiss the possibility, however, that the melanin pigments of either type of melanosomes are the same or closely related to each other as far as their basic chemical composition is concerned. The cause of the melanosis of the dentate nucleus is not known. Possibly involutional tissue changes governed by endocrine factors among others may play an important part.

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Ule, G., Berlet, H. Melanosis Cerebelli. Acta Neuropathol 46, 215–220 (1979).

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Key words

  • Melanosis of the dentate nucleus
  • Glial melanin
  • Ultrastructure
  • Intrared spectroscopy