41. Arteritis temporalis

Page created on December 3, 2018. Last updated on January 17, 2019 at 17:19

Staining: HE

Organ: Superficial temporal artery


Three cross-sections of an artery can be seen. The upper right one is the easiest to examine. We can see giant cells, epithelioid cells, lymphocytes and plasma cells. The lumen of the artery is really narrow and the internal elastic lamina is disrupted.

Diagnosis: Giant cell arteritis


  • Older people
  • Females more affected than males


Giant cell arteritis, or temporal arteritis (when it affects the temporal artery) is a granulomatous inflammation that affects large arteries. Characteristic for the disease is that only certain parts of the affected artery show the histological signs of inflammation. If a preparation was taken from one of these parts could a false negative diagnosis be made. Optimally should a longitudinal section of the artery be examined, or multiple cross-sections (which could be why we have three sections here).

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2 thoughts on “41. Arteritis temporalis”

  1. My teacher said its not possible to see the internal elastic lamina in this slide, unless you stain with orcein. Is this true?

    1. It’s hard for me to argue with a pathologist regarding pathohistology, but everything I’ve written regarding the slides comes from what my teacher said. But it’s not that unusual that they disagree.

      I suppose you can’t directly distinguish elastic fibres without orcein, but I think it’s hard to argue against that what the arrows point to most likely is the IEL.

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