Unusual hyperpigmentation developing in congenital reticular ichthyosiform erythroderma (ichthyosis variegata)

A. Brusasco, S. Cambiaghi, G. Tadini, E. Berti, R. Caputo

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We present an unusual new clinical feature which developed in a patient with congenital reticular ichthyosiform erythroderma. This rare ichthyotic disorder is characterized by erythematous ichthyotic skin surrounding slowly enlarging areas of normal skin, and by a pathognomonic ultrastructural pattern, namely perinuclear deposits of a filamentous material in vacuolized keratinocytes. At the age of 18 years, a 23-year-old woman developed several irregular hyperpigmented macules on her limbs, which were almost black in colour. These lesions have not been observed in the other patients affected by the disease nor, to our knowledge, in other ichthyotic disorders. Electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the lesions were strictly related to the ichthyotic skin and that their dark colour was especially due to melanosome accumulation in activated dendritic melanocytes. An unusual postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, in which the lack of pigment deposition in the keratinocytes is due to a transfer defect in pathological cells, is hypothesized. A characteristic hyperplastic stimulation of the epidermis is also taken into consideration to explain the lack of a similar picture in other erythrodermic ichthyotic disorders with a continuous inflammatory process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-896
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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