Ultrastructural study of the formation of psammoma bodies in fibroblastic meningioma

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✓ The fine structure of psammoma bodies was examined in four cases of fibroblastic meningioma. In general, large numbers of various-sized calcified bodies (psammoma bodies) were scattered among the interstitial fibers. In these bodies, the smallest calcific site was found in the extracellular membrane-bound matrix vesicles, which measured approximately 0.1 to 0.2 µ in diameter. In addition, extracellular “matrix giant bodies,” with or without hydroxyapatite aggregates and measuring up to 3 µ in diameter, were frequently encountered. These bodies were apparently invested with single, double, or multiple concentric walls averaging nearly 0.1 µ thick. They presumably originated from the neoplastic cells as a consequence of cytoplasmic residuals associated with cellular degeneration or necrotic cell processes. Hydroxyapatite crystals precipitated repeatedly within the bodies. The precipitate may gradually aggregate within the bodies, and gather in clusters, resulting in a large psammoma body. Finally, collagen fibers around the calcified giant bodies accrued deposits of apatite crystals to make a huge psammoma body. These findings suggest that both matrix giant bodies and matrix vesicles may serve as initial nidus of calcification of psammoma bodies in fibroblastic meningioma. Consequently, this mineralization process may represent a certain dystrophic calcification of meningocytic cells.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Toshihiko Kubota, M.D., Department of Neuropathology, Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, New York 10467.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Photomicrograph of an area of fibroblastic meningioma showing a stream-like arrangement of neoplastic cells containing numerous psammoma bodies. H & E, × 200.

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    Electron micrograph of a fibrous portion of a fibroblastic meningioma demonstrating several thick membrane-bound structures with hydroxyapatite aggregates among the interstitial fibers. × 10,000.

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    Electron micrographs, × 125,000. A: A tiny round structure, the so-called “matrix vesicle,” measuring about 0.2 µ in diameter, is visible in the extracellular space. B: One of the matrix vesicles obviously precipitates needle-like hydroxyapatite crystals within it.

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    Electron micrograph showing the thick membrane-invested bodies dispersed among the collagen fibers. These bodies appear to arise from degenerated cells, presumably the structures of origin of matrix giant bodies. × 39,000.

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    Electron micrographs (× 50,000) showing elliptical matrix giant bodies similar to those illustrated in Fig. 4. All of them are invested with thick membrane-like structures. Apatite precipitates are deposited within these bodies in varying degrees.

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    Electron micrographs. A: Several giant bodies with small amounts of apatite aggregates. × 18,000. B: One of them has remarkable apatite precipitates. × 58,000.

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    Electron micrographs. A: Apatite aggregates fill up the area within a large body measuring about 3 µ in diameter, resulting in a mature psammoma body. Vacant areas in the body show sectioning artifact. × 35,000. B: A giant body invested by a concentric double thick wall. Apatite depositions are mainly precipitated within the central portion and on the inner wall. × 47,000.

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    Electron micrographs. A: A lamellated calcific psammoma body. Apatite precipitates are copiously deposited on the thick walls. × 54,000. B: A large psammoma body comprising three lamellated calcific giant bodies. × 22,500.

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    Electron micrographs. A: Several calcified collagen fibers surround the mineralized giant bodies. × 14,000. B: A wide calcified area is located alongside the interstitial fibers adjacent to the mineralized giant bodies. × 9600.

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