Dermatitis herpetiformis (Duhring's disease) is a chronic idiopathic skin disorder characterized by groups of severely pruritic papulovesicular eruptions, often associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Symptoms typically first appear in the early years of adulthood.
Dermatitis herpetiformis usually presents with a pruritic skin rash. The lesions, vesicles and papules, will appear on the skin in groups and can be as big as one centimeter in diameter. These can occur anywhere on the skin, but the rash associated with the disorder usually effects the elbows, forearms, knees, buttocks, and scalp of the patient . Other symptoms associated with the condition are burning, intense pruritus, and a stinging sensation which usually precede lesions.
The severity of the condition can vary rapidly since it is closely associated with a person’s diet. The majority of patients have an associated small bowel disease of varying degree related to gluten-sensitivity.
A proper diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis can only be made after laboratory tests, including tissue pathology, direct immunofluorescence microscopy, and serology. Using direct immunofluorescence, granular deposits of IgA within the dermal papillae will be revealed. This will exclude differential diagnoses such as bullous pemphigoid, herpes gestationis, linear IgA bullous dermatosis, and bullous systemic lupus erythematosus. This condition is sometimes misdiagnosed clinically as dyshidrotic eczema, contact dermatitis, scabies, and drug eruptions .
These tests are especially important after a clinically indistinguishable form of dermatitis known as gluten-sensitive dermatitis was documented in 2010. The one difference between the two conditions is the presence of IgA which is found in dermatitis herpetiformis but not gluten-sensitive dermatitis.
While a gluten-free diet will improve the condition, the patient shouldn’t make any dietary changes before blood tests and skin biopsies are done. By changing a diet beforehand, any test results might show false negatives. If dietary changes were already made, it is recommended that a affected individuals reintroduce gluten into their diet for a few weeks before going for their tests. While doing this might make the patient unwell and uncomfortable, this is the only way to ensure that the tests will have reliable results.
The best lifelong treatment for dermatitis herpetiformis is a strict gluten-free diet. This diet will :
In terms of drug treatment, Dapsone is usually the first choice. This medication can reduce the pruritus associated with lesions and rashes in one or two days. Precautions, including blood monitoring requirements are usually necessary while on Dapsone. Other possible medications that are used to treat dermatitis herpetiformis are:
Patients dealing with dermatitis herpetiformis should be aware that there are some medications that can exacerbate their condition such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and iodides. The only safe NSAID, according to research, seems to be ibuprofen.
While a patient can go into remission from dermatitis herpetiformis, usually due to dapsone and/or a gluten-free diet, the disorder is considered to be a lifelong condition . When it is left untreated, dermatitis herpetiformis can lead to issues including anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and in some cases, malignancies.
The exact etiology of the disorder is unknown. The majority of cases is associated with a gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE). The condition seems to have a genetic predisposition with increased expression of the HLA-A1, HLA-B8, HLA-DR3, and HLA-DQ2 haplotypes and IgA deposits in the papillary dermis are present.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is an uncommon disorder. Across the globe, the condition seems to affect about 10 people out of 100,000. The prevalence in the United States is reported to be 11.2 cases in 100,000 people . Males are more frequently affected by the disorder. The age of onset is usually around the fourth or fifth decade, but it may also affect children and the elderly.
The pathogenesis of dermatitis herpetiformis is a complex interplay between genetics, autoimmune factors, and environment. It involves the creation of IgA antibodies to gluten-tissue transglutaminase (t-TG). This is probably caused by a gluten sensitivity combined with a high-gluten diet in genetically susceptible individuals . These t-TG antibodies cross-react with epidermal transglutaminase (e-TG) . Deposition of IgA and epidermal TG complexes in the papillary dermis cause the lesions of the condition.
According to studies, the condition is found predominantly in people with Northern European roots and is rare in people of Asian and African descendants, most likely due to the frequency of certain haplotypes.
This condition is usually due to a genetic predisposition and is considered to be unpreventable. The complications of the condition, however, can be prevented. By eliminating gluten from a person’s daily diet, flare ups of dermatitis herpetiformis can be prevented .
Originally recorded in 1884 by Dr. Louis Duhring of the University of Pennsylvania, dermatitis herpetiformis is an autoimmune disease that causes cutaneous eruptions in the affected person . The disorder is linked to gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE) and is recognizable by inflammatory papules, vesicles and excoriations on the on the forearms, knees, scalp, or buttocks.
Dermatitis herpetiformis, sometimes known as gluten rash or Duhring’s disease, is a chronic blistering skin disorder that presents itself as a skin rash coupled by itching, blisters, and a burning sensation. These rashes usually appear on the back, buttocks, elbows, knees, and the scalp. This is usually coupled with an underlying genetic predisposition like a gluten sensitivity.