Touton giant cells are named for Karl Touton, a German botanist and dermatologist. Karl Touton first observed these cells in 1885 and named them "xanthelasmatic giant cells", a name which has since fallen out of favor.
Touton giant cells, being multinucleated giant cells, can be distinguished by the presence of several nuclei in a distinct pattern. They contain a ring of nuclei surrounding a central homogeneous cytoplasm, while foamy cytoplasm surrounds the nuclei. The cytoplasm surrounded by the nuclei has been described as both amphophilic and eosinophilic, while the cytoplasm near the periphery of the cell is pale and foamy in appearance.
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