What Causes Neurofibromas?
Neurofibromas are proliferations of peripheral nerves and the surrounding collagenous matrix. They occur sporadically and as part of the neurofibromatosis type I syndrome (NF1). Results of earlier studies suggest that trauma may play a role in their etiology, but this has not been proven. In this study from Finland, investigators examined skin biopsies taken from clinically uninvolved skin of 10 patients with NF1 and from 6 patients with no evidence of the disease. Researchers detected a small, clinically unapparent neurofibroma in the deep dermis surrounding a hair follicle in the biopsy of 1 patient with NF1 and a smaller but histologically similar collection of cells at the same location in a biopsy taken from another NF1 patient. Specimens from several of the remaining patients with NF1 demonstrated an increased presence of perifollicular nerve cells (as evidenced by S100 protein staining). They identified no such increases in the control tissue. Comment: This study provides severa