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Exp Dermatol. 2009 Aug;18(8):658-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00908.x. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Skin and heart: une liaison dangereuse.

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Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.


Both skin and heart are subject to shear mechanical stress and need to be stress-resistant in a flexible way. The intercellular connecting structures in skin and heart, the desmosomes, that have to resist these forces show remarkable resemblance in epidermis and myocardium. Mutations in desmosomal proteins lead to inherited desmosomal cardiocutaneous syndromes (DCCS): une liaison dangereuse. This article will critically review the cutaneous and cardiac features as well as the molecular background of DCCS, such as Naxos disease and Carvajal syndrome caused by deficiencies of plakoglobin and desmoplakin respectively. In addition, potential other desmosomal gene candidates for an involvement in cardiocutaneous syndromes are considered. The skin features in these syndromes may be the hallmark for the presence of progressive and ultimately lethal cardiac disease. Knowledge of these skin features and early recognition of such a syndrome may provide opportunities to halt or slow down cardiac disease progression, treat arrhythmias and even prevent sudden death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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