Amyloidosis of the internal organs has been thoroughly studied by internists and pathologists for many years, but only in recent times has this degenerative change been recognized in the skin.
In 1905, Pospelow1 discussed the condition in his textbook. In 1909 Schilder2 examined the skin of fourteen patients who at postmortem examination showed general amyloidosis. In seven of the specimens he was able to demonstrate amyloid, even though the skin was normal clinically.
Amyloid is a morphologic, homogeneous, structureless substance, which has peculiar characteristic staining qualities. Methyl violet stains amyloid a metachromatic bright red. Iodine produces a dark brown, and the addition of sulphuric acid changes the brown to a dirty green. The van Gieson method gives a clear yellow.
In examining for amyloid one should test with several stains before making a definite diagnosis, because every example of amyloid possesses a different staining intensity, probably owing to
WINER LH. LOCAL AMYLOIDOSIS OF THE SKIN. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1931;23(5):866–871. doi:10.1001/archderm.1931.03880230040004