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Touton giant cell

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noun, plural: Touton giant cells

A type of giant cell characterized by multiple nuclei forming a ring surrounded by a foamy cytoplasm, and formed by the fusion of epithelioid macrophages


A giant cell is an unusually large cell containing several nuclei and Touton giant cell is an example of it. Touton giant cell is named after Karl Touton who is a German botanist and dermatologist and described the cell in 1885 as a xanthelasmatic giant cell.1

Touton giant cell is a large cell with multiple nuclei that form a ring. This group of nuclei is surrounded by a foamy cytoplasm whereas the center of the cytoplasm is nonfoamy or homogenous. The center of the cytoplasm that is surrounded by the nuclei is said to be amphophilic and eosinophilic.2

Touton giant cells are formed by the fusion of epithelioid macrophages. They are seen in lesions with high lipid content, such as fat necrosis, xanthoma, and xanthogranulomas. They were also found in dermatofibroma.3

See also:

1 Olson, J. (1989). The History of Cancer: An Annotated Bibliography. ABC-CLIO. p. 139.
2 Sequeira, F., & Gandhi, S. (2012). "Named cells in dermatology". Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (Medknow) 78 (2): 207–16.
3 Rapini, R. P., Bolognia, J. L., and Jorizzo, J. L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. pp. 14, 15.