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The authors recently reexamined the peripheral nerve biopsies from 42 patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). There were 27 males and 15 females, aged from 9 to 84 years, and 13 had relapses. No patient had vasculitis, monoclonal gammopathy, tumor, diabetes mellitus,
Lyme disease, familial neuropathy, HIV, or any other immune deficiency. In the endoneurium, perivascular inflammatory cell infiltrates were present in only one case, but scattered histiocytes marked by KP1 on paraffin-embedded fragments were present in every case and there were no T-lymphocytes. At ultrastructural examination macrophage-associated demyelination was observed in 17 cases, of which 6 had relapses separated by intervals of several months or years. Axonal lesions without associated primary demyelination were observed in 4 cases and 3 of these had relapses. Thirty-two patients had mixed lesions of demyelination and axonal involvement. This study confirms other recent data indicating that in all cases of CIDP, macrophages are present in the endoneurium. Macrophage-associated demyelination is the characteristic feature of demyelinating forms. On the other hand, isolated primary axonal forms, which have been known since 1989, are relatively frequent and prone to relapses.