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Birbeck granules

Birbeck granule is a rod shaped or tennis racquet shaped organelle present in Langerhans cells. It is 200 to 400 nm long and 33 nm wide with a zipper like appearance.

Birbeck granules are a hallmark of Langerhans cells. They can be demonstrated by electron microscopy in non-neoplastic Langerhans cells, as well as in neoplasms of Langerhans cell lineage. Langerin, the key component of Birbeck granules, can also be demonstrated in these cells by immunohistochemistry.

Last updated: May 11, 2012, 3:01 am EST

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Birbeck granules

Birbeck granules
(Click to enlarge)

Electron microphotograph showing a Birbeck granule in the cytoplasm of a Langerhans cell.

Image courtesy of Scott Graner