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April 30, 1973

Section 12.—Amyloidosis

JAMA. 1973;224(Suppl_5):721-722. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220190061015

Amyloidosis is a disorder characterized by the accumulation of a unique extracellular filamentous glycoprotein (amyloid) in the connective tissue of the body.1,2 The term amyloid originated with Virchow (1860), who mistakenly believed that this substance was akin to starch. The deposition of amyloid may be widespread, with involvement of major organs leading to serious clinical consequences, or it may be very limited in extent with little effect on health. Amyloidosis has been separated into a primary form, unrelated to any other disease, and a secondary form which follows in the wake of certain chronic infections and inflammatory disorders and neoplasms, including tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, bronchiectasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, granulomatous enteritis, familial Mediterranean fever (see below), multiple myeloma, macroglobulinemia, and medullary carcinoma of the thyroid. The term secondary amyloidosis is clinically useful in distinguishing these latter disorders from the former, but no differences between primary and secondary amyloid have been