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Case 46 - Discussion

Hematopathology Case


Sarcoidosis and Asteroid Body

Asteroid bodies: Asteroid bodies are striking cytoplasmic inclusions in giant cells of granulomas of many types including those of sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, leprosy, fungal infections, schistosomiasis, and lipoid and foreign body types. They vary in size from 5 to 30 Ám and have up to 30 rays forming a star-like, spider, or umbrella pattern. The surrounding cytoplasm is vacuolated [1]. There is controversy about their composition. Some believe the radiating spokes are composed of cytoplasmic filaments [2], and others believe they are composed of microtubular components [3,4]. In any case, the pathophysiologic changes that produce the Asteroid bodies are unknown.

  1. Rosen Y, Vuletin J, Pertschuk L, Silverstein E. Sarcoidosis. From the pathologist's vantage point. Pathol Annu 1979 Part 1; 14:405-439.

  2. Kirkpatrick C, Curry A, Bisset D. Light- and electron-microscopic studies on multinucleated giant cells in sarcoid granuloma: new aspects of asteroid and Schaumann bodies. Ultrastructural Pathol 1988; 12:581-597.

  3. Cain H, Kraus B. Asteroid bodies: derivatives of the cytosphere. An electron microscopic contribution to the pathology of the cytocentre. Virchows Arch B Cell Path 1977; 26:119-132.

  4. Gadde P, Moscovic E. Asteroid bodies: products of unusual microtubule dynamics in monocyte-derived giant cells. An immunohistochemical study. Histol & Histopathol 1994; 9:633-642.