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History of Neurology: Seminal Citations
May 2001

Amyloid Neuropathy: A Peculiar Form of Peripheral Neuropathy

Author Affiliations

From the Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY.



Arch Neurol. 2001;58(5):822-823. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.5.822

The first pathological descriptions of amyloid have been attributed to von Rokitansky,1,2 who in 1842 described the waxy or lardaceous changes in the liver and spleen as "infiltration by a grey, albuminous, gelatinous substance."3 Although scattered clinical descriptions of liver infiltration had been recorded as early as 1722, von Rokitansky's descriptions led to increased attention to this infiltrative disorder. Virchow4,5 introduced the first histochemical test for amyloid using iodine and sulfuric acid in 1854, facilitating the diagnosis of amyloidosis. The test, which turned cellulose blue in the presence of iodine and sulfuric acid, was initially described in 1814 by Colin and Gaultier de Claubry6 and in 1815 by Stromeyer.7 Virchow8,9 noted that the waxy tissue, when exposed to iodine and sulfuric acid, also turned blue and postulated that a "cellulosemetamorphosis or amyloid change" was taking place in the tissue. Virchow's theory is thought to be the basis for the term amyloid, which is derived from the Greek word amylon, meaning starch.

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