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Autoimmun Rev. 2005 Apr;4(4):219-23. Epub 2004 Dec 18.

Koebner phenomenon in lupus erythematosus with special consideration of clinical findings.

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  • 1Kawasaki Medical School, 577 Matsushima Kurashiki-city, Okayama, 701-0192 Japan.


The isomorphic response of Koebner can be observed not only in psoriasis, but also in other diseases, such as lichen planus and some systemic diseases including LE (lupus erythematosus) or sarcoidosis. Several clinical findings in LE skin were presented and discussed in this review. The mutually-interactive-, negative-, and internal-Koebner phenomena were introduced and discussed with some speculative views. Many forms of environmental stress on the skin were reported as provocating factors of the Koebner phenomenon, including trauma, scratching, UV-exposure, and various types of dermatitis. Clinical observations of the nature, localization, and movement of lesions should be carefully made. The pathophysiology of the Koebner phenomenon may be classified into two steps. A first non-specific inflammatory step and a second disease-specific step. The inflammatory products released from the first step would be targeted in the second step. In the first step, there could be many substances including cytokines, stress proteins, adhesion molecules, or autoantigens translocated from intra-cellular areas. In the second step after latent periods, there may be disease-specific reactions, including ones by T-cells, B-cells, autoantibodies, and immune deposits, under the restriction of genetic backgrounds. The Koebner phenomenon may prove useful in understanding the pathophysiology of diseases of unknown origin.

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