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Br J Dermatol. 1996 Sep;135(3):448-53.

A longitudinal study of a harlequin infant presenting clinically as non-bullous congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma.

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  • 1INSERM U.346/CNRS, E. Herriot Hospital, Lyon, France.


Over the past 8 years, we have followed a child born as a harlequin baby, who survived due to treatment with retinoids. His condition evolved clinically towards the erythrodermic form of lamellar ichthyosis (non-bullous congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, NBCIE). According to ultrastructural and biochemical criteria, our patient originally presented with type II harlequin ichthyosis. Investigations showed an abnormal keratinosome structure and extrusion, a keratin pattern characteristic for epidermal hyperproliferation, and an absence of conversion of profilaggrin to filaggrin. Persisting keratinocyte hyperproliferation, associated with the presence of a dermal infiltrate, is in agreement with the present clinical picture of severe NBCIE. However, abnormal lamellar body production and defective filaggrin processing, which is not one of the diagnostic criteria of NBCIE, persist in the patient's skin. Further studies of the epidermal lipid composition, and of possible mutations of the keratinocyte transglutaminase gene performed on epidermal cell cultures of harlequin ichthyosis, will be necessary before type II harlequin ichthyosis can be accepted as an extremely severe form of NBCIE.

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