Monthly Archives: December 2012


Rosacea is a common dermatosis that can involve the bald area of the scalp. We report the case of a man presenting clinical symptoms of rosacea of the forehead and the scalp, but with a histological picture of familial chronic benign pemphigus.


A 47-year-old man with a history of Hailey-Hailey disease had been presenting facial dermatosis for 5 years. The clinical features were erythema with pustules and scales located on the mid-forehead and the androgenic bald area of the frontal scalp. The histological aspect of the skin biopsy showed suprabasilar clefting and ancantholysis at all levels of the epidermis and sparse perivascular infiltrate. Direct immunofluorescence was negative. These findings were typical of Hailey-Hailey disease. Based on clinical findings, and without taking account of the skin biopsy results, treatment with doxycycline and a topical antifungal was administered for 3 months, leading to remission of symptoms.


The site of rosacea on the bald area of the scalp in males is described in the literature, and when present, is probably enhanced by exposure to UV radiation. In this patient, the histological features were interpreted as histopathologically equivalent to Köbner phenomenon.

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The clinical and epidemiological features of pemphigus vulgaris (PV) are well documented but there remain few reports of oesophageal involvement of PV. Although previously considered to be rare, recent reports have suggested that up to 87% of patients with PV may have symptoms, or endoscopic features, of oesophageal disease that may be poorly responsive to conventional corticosteroid-sparing immunosuppression.

The present report details the clinical and immunological features of a 53 year old Asian female who developed symptoms and signs of oesophageal PV during therapy with azathioprine and decreasing prednisolone dosage. Oesophageal involvement occurred during stable oral disease.

Oesophageal involvement can occur without significant oro-cutaneous lesions and immunological evidence of PV. This suggests that immunological targets for oesophageal disease may differ from those of other mucocutaneous areas, and that conventional first-line systemic therapy may not be effective for oesophageal lesions.

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A 14-year-old male presented with seven years history of recurrent episodes of fluid filled, itchy and eroded lesions over the body not responding to oral corticosteroids and azathioprine. Dermatological examination revealed crusted plaques and erosions in a seborrheic distribution. Histopathology of skin lesions and direct immunofluorescence were characteristic of pemphigus foliaceus. He was treated with dexamethasone pulse therapy with inadequate response. However, relapsing skin lesions revealed a circinate arrangement with a predilection to trunk and flexures. In view of clinical features suggestive of IgA pemphigus, he was started on dapsone, to which he responded dramatically in four weeks. However, repeat biopsy continued to reveal features of pemphigus foliaceus and ELISA for anti- desmoglein 1 antibodies was positive.


Inherent to some immunobullous disorders is potential for intraepidermal or dermal–epidermal junction fragility, a phenomenon that may compromise biopsy specimen integrity and direct immunofluorescence (DIF) interpretation. In these situations, cutaneous adnexal structures (e.g. hair follicles, sweat apparatus) usually remain intact. Whether periadnexal DIF findings are reliable in diagnosing immunobullous conditions is unknown.


We evaluated 56 cutaneous specimens with diagnostic immunoglobulin (Ig) deposition patterns that contained adnexal structures. In a corollary study, we examined 145 hematoxylin-eosin-stained frozen specimens to determine biopsy factors associated with the presence of adnexal structures.


Periadnexal DIF findings offered diagnostic sensitivity in conditions with linear or cell-surface Ig deposition or lupus band. Periadnexal DIF findings were unreliable in dermatitis herpetiformis. Biopsy specimens from scalp and genitalia were most likely to contain folliculosebaceous units and sweat duct apparatus, respectively. Relative depth of biopsy correlated directly with the likelihood of identifying sweat duct apparatus but not folliculosebaceous units.


Periadnexal DIF findings may add diagnostic sensitivity in DIF evaluation of pemphigoid, pemphigus and lupus erythematosus. Pathologists can guide clinicians to biopsy certain anatomic sites and to obtain sufficient biopsy depth to increase the probability of capturing adnexal structures and, therefore, diagnostic yield from DIF specimens.

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