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Pathogenesis of secondary (AA) amyloidosis

Peter D Gorevic, MD
Section Editor
Peter H Schur, MD
Deputy Editor
Paul L Romain, MD


Amyloidosis is a generic term that refers to the predominantly extracellular tissue deposition of fibrils composed of low molecular weight subunits (5 to 25 kD) derived from any of a variety of serum proteins. These fibrils have a predominantly antiparallel beta-pleated sheet configuration; they can be identified on biopsy specimens by tinctorial properties that result from the binding of specific dyes, such as Congo red (leading to green birefringence under polarized light) and thioflavine T (producing an intense yellow-green fluorescence), and by electron microscopy [1].

All forms of amyloidosis are characterized by co-deposition of other substances, including [1,2]:

Serum amyloid P component (SAP), a member of the pentraxin family that includes C-reactive protein

Glycosaminoglycans, notably heparan sulfate

Apolipoproteins (E and J)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Dec 2, 2015.
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