Fibrillin immunoreactive fibers constitute a unique network in the human dermis: Immunohistochemical comparison of the distributions of fibrillin, vitronectin, amyloid P component, and orcein stainable structures in normal skin and elastosis

Karin Dahlbäck, Anne Ljungquist, Helge Löfberg, Björn Dahlbäck, Eva Engvall, Lynn Y. Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


Fibrillin, a 350-kD glycoprotein, was recently localized to elastin-associated 10 nm microfibrils. Here, the distribution of fibrillin immunoreactivity was determined in normal skin in individuals of different ages and in lesions of solar elastosis or anetoderma. It was compared with the distribution of orcein-stainable fibers and with the immunoreactivities of vitronectin and amyloid P component. These glycoproteins are known to occur in conjunction with the orcein-stainable elastic fibers in adults, but not in the young. Fibrillin immunoreactivity was associated with orcein-stainable fibers in normal skin of both adults and the young. In addition, the fibrillin immunoreactive fiber network comprised fine fibers that were unstainable by orcein, anti-vitronectin, or antiamyloid P component. Such fine fibers were especially abundant close to the dermal-epidermal junction zone. Immunoreactivities of anti-vitronectin and anti-amyloid P component were not always associated with fibrillin immunoreactivity but were consistently found to co-localize with orcein-stainable fibers in adults. This suggests vitronectin and amyloid P component to be associated with the amorphous elastin rather than with the microfibrils, although alternative interpretations are possible. In elastotic lesions, fibrillin immunoreactivity was generally fainter than that obtained using anti-vitronectin or anti-amyloid P component. In contrast, an extensive network of dermal fibers stained by anti-fibrillin, but not by anti-amyloid P component, anti-vitronectin, or orcein, was seen in an anetoderma lesion. In conclusion, fibrillin immunoreactivity is associated with a unique dermal network, which ultrastructurally is composed of microfibrils. These fibers are proposed to have an important structural and functional role in anchoring the dermal elastic fibers in the extracellular matrix and to the lamina densa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-291
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this