Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma
Pigment / foreign material

Topic Completed: 1 June 2014

Minor changes: 22 March 2021

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lipofuscin [title] lymph nodes

Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.
Abdelsalam Sharabi, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 2,487
Page views in 2021 to date: 903
Cite this page: Balakrishna J, Sharabi A.. Lipofuscin. website. Accessed April 15th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Common incidental finding
  • Lipofuscin is a golden brown, finely granular pigment derived chiefly from the breakdown products of lipids, usually those derived from cell membranes
  • Ceroid is a variant of lipofuscin that is acid fast and autofluorescent
  • Portal lymph nodes and other nodes draining the liver
  • Also in other lymph node groups
  • Accumulation of lipofuscin in post mitotic cells by accretion of oxidized, cross linked proteins
  • Conspicuous in conditions associated with atrophy of an organ
  • Various inflammatory, necrotic, neoplastic lesions, including chronic cholestatic lesions like primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis
Clinical features
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
Prognostic factors
  • Although previously thought to have no significance, there is increasing evidence that lipofuscin may both cause and be due to increased oxidant stress in cells and may impair proteasomal and lysosomal functions
Gross description
  • Enlarged lymph nodes with brown pigment
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Sinus histiocytosis with granular deposits of brown pigment in sinus macrophages
  • Varying degrees of follicular hyperplasia
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Salivary gland


Black granules - Orcein

Liver - L: expansion of medullary sinuses R: Long Ziehl-Neelsen stain

Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Membrane limited, electron dense, spherical inclusions
Differential diagnosis
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