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September 1972

Dermal Dopa-Positive Cells in Lichen Planus

Arch Dermatol. 1972;106(3):422-423. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620120096036

To the Editor.—  In my study,1 dopa-positive dendritic cells in the dermis in lichen planus were easily distinguished from dopa-negative dermal cells containing preformed melanin ("melanophages"). The implication by Black and Wilson-Jones in the Archives (105:81, 1972) that our identification of these dopa-positive cells was erroneous and based on difficulty in distinguishing dopa melanin from preformed melanin is incorrect and clearly contradicted by Fig 5 of my study.1 Even the most heavily melanized cells cannot be confused with the strongly dopa-positive cells containing homogenous black reaction-product, which we demonstrated. Some "melanophages" were dopa-negative, and others showed a range of dopa-positivity, including the strongly dopa-positive cells cited. The Figure illustrates dopa-positive dermal cells in the cryostat section of the lesion of lichen planus used to illustrate our 1965 article. The contrast between dopa-melanin and preformed melanin depicted is evident.The use of the term "melanophage" without qualification and

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