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Am J Dermatopathol. 1991 Aug;13(4):358-64.

Lichenoid histopathologic changes in patients with clinical diagnoses of exfoliative dermatitis.

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Department of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond 23298.


Among 30 patients who received a clinical diagnosis of exfoliative dermatitis and were biopsied between 1982 and 1990, nine showed microscopic features of lichenoid dermatitis. Clinical information was available in eight of these cases. Possible etiologic factors included lymphoma, herpes simplex infection, connective tissue disease, and (in five cases) reactions to drugs. In each instance, microscopic features included a superficial perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate involving the dermal-epidermal interface, vacuolar alteration of the basilar layer, and individually necrotic keratinocytes at all levels of the epidermis. Such microscopic changes are not usually described in connection with exfoliative dermatitis, with the possible exception of those cases related to lichen planus or lupus erythematosus. Disseminated lichenoid drug eruption is one possible interpretation of the drug-induced cases. Erythema multiforme is another condition that has similar microscopic features and has been associated with drugs (many of which also cause exfoliative dermatitis), infectious agents, neoplasms, and connective tissue diseases. Lichenoid dermatitis can become generalized and clinically mimic and exfoliative dermatitis. Many, but not all, of these eruptions may be triggered by drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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