Tyrosine-rich crystalloids in pleomorphic adenoma: SEM findings and partial biochemical characterization

Philip T. Valente, J. Kenneth Hoober, Steven J. Phillips

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8 Scopus citations


The rare tyrosine-rich crystalloids (TRC) of salivary gland pleomorphic adenoma (PA) give a positive Millon reaction indicating the presence of tyrosine. Their varied histochemical reactions, however, suggest a more complex composition. Two cases of TRC were encountered in a series of 144 PA (1.4% Both were studied with several histochemical stains, and one tumor particularly rich in TRC was further examined with transmission and scanning electron microscopy and subjected to biochemical analysis using fresh-frozen tissue. TEM showed amorphous, electron-dense masses with no discernable internal structure. SEM revealed a geodelike structure of radially arranged, interlocking plates. Amino acid analysis of normal parotid, tumor with TRC., and a similar tumor without TRC indicated a slightly elevated level of tyrosine and arginine in the tumor with TRC. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of tissue dissolved in sodium dode-cyl sulfate revealed dense banding corresponding to polypeptides of a relative molecular weight of approximately 17,000 only in the TRC-rich sample. These bands on further analysis contained relatively large amounts of arginine. Tyrosine was present in only small amounts. TRC appear to be small proteins containing some tyrosine but rich in arginine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-620
Number of pages8
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Mixed tumors
  • Salivary gland
  • Tyrosine crystalloids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Structural Biology


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