Anti-vimentin antibodies have very little role in diagnostic dermato-pathology. Due to lack of specificity, positive staining does not significantly improve the accuracy of any diagnoses. There are more specific mesenchymal markers that provide much more useful information (see below). In our diagnostic laboratory, we do not stock this antibody. However, it does serve as a very good marker to assess for antigen preservation in tissue sections. In many laboratories, anti-vimentin antibodies serve as a positive internal control (see Chapter 2).

Actin (Muscle Specific/Smooth Muscle) Introduction

Actin is an intermediate filament that is expressed by myocytes. It is a cytoskeletal protein that works in conjunction with myosin to stimulate cellular contraction (17). Actin also plays a role in cellular motility and may facilitate tumor invasion (18). It is also expressed by myoepithelial cells (19). Focal actin expression has been demonstrated in apocrine decapitation formations and in the microvilli system in sweat glands (17). In normal skin, arrector pili muscles and the smooth muscle surrounding dermal blood vessels normally express smooth muscle actin (Fig. 2). Multiple antibodies to actin have been developed and are commercially available. The most commonly used varieties are anti-smooth muscle actin and muscle-specific actin.

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