Erythema Multiforme (minor)

Erythema MultiformeI got a slide of my skin biopsy from the erythema multiforme (minor) that developed after chiggers and weird immune reactions.  The images below are actual skin biopsies and pictures that I took myself. The biopsies are stained with H&E (haematoxylin & eosin), which colour the cytoplasm of cells pink and the nuclei of cells purple (or dark blue).  Both images were taken at the same magnification (100X).  Note that the skin on the left (the normal skin) is NOT mine, but was a recent slide from an experiment where I work.  You can see differences between the two pictures that are obvious, and I’ll start from the outer surface.  First, note that both have a netlike mesh on top of the skin.  That’s the outer stratum corneum, a protective layer.  Mine is thicker, and there may be two reasons for that: the normal skin came from a different area of the body, and there’s probably an age difference (and I’m likely younger).  Under that layer is a thick purple band that has fingerlike projections—that purple region is the epidermis.  It’s normal for it to be purple.  Again, mine is thicker, probably due to physical location and age.  All the pinkish stuff is dermis.  The normal skin has a few scattered dark spots-nuclei of cells-scattered here and there, but my skin sample has TONS of very dark cells.  That’s the abnormal part.  Those are white blood cells—in particular, they’re probably T cells, though you can’t tell that much just by looking at them.  You should also note that they form distinct regions that tend to have rounded edges: that comes from blood vessels.  These are perivascular leukocytes (white blood cells).  There was a difference in opinion on the formal, official diagnosis: one dermatopathologist says classic erythema multiforme, the other says not (just unknown perivascular leucocytic inflammation).  The gist of it is that you can SEE all the cells that are not normally there that were trying to destroy my (otherwise intact) skin!  Kinda neat.  I liked getting a microscope slide of my own skin.  But then, I’ve never been normal…

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