Dermatitis herpetiformis: pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment


An. Bras. Dermatol.




Researches on DH have shown that it is not just a bullous skin disease, but a cutaneous-intestinal disorder caused by hypersensitivity to gluten. Exposure to gluten is the starting point of an inflammatory cascade capable of forming autoantibodies that are brought to the skin, where they are deposited, culminating in the formation of skin lesions. These lesions are vesico-bullous, pruritic, and localized especially on elbows, knees and buttocks, although atypical presentations can occur. Immunofluorescence of perilesional area is considered the gold standard for diagnosis, but serological tests help in cases where it is negative. Patients who follow glutenfree diets have better control of symptoms on the skin and intestine, as well as lower risks of progression to lymphoma. Dapsone remains the main drug for treatment, but it requires monitoring of possible side effects, some potentially lethal.

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