The most common symptoms of UP include skin efflorences such as papules and macula that are generally of light brown color and thus look similar to freckles. Contrary to the latter, these skin changes are accompanied by considerable pruritus. In most cases, UP lesions are restricted to the skin. Only very rarely do they affect other organs of the body, e.g. bones.
Confirmation of the Darier's sign strongly indicates mastocytosis and therefore UP. It may be provoked by exposing mastocyte-containing papules and macula to touch or heat and consists in the appearance of slightly elevated, smooth wheals that generally differ in color from the surrounding skin. These wheals are associated with strong pruritus. Occasionally, they may appear to be filled with fluid.
Since mast cells liberate considerable amounts of mediators such as histamine and heparine, systemic symptoms may also be observed. Patients may thus present with headaches, flushing, hypotension and syncopes, tachycardia, anorexia, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, neuropsychiatric symptoms, abdominal pain and diarrhea .
Entire Body System
- Pediatric Disease
There should be a focus on patient and parent education about the disease, its natural history, differences between adult and pediatric disease, and possible triggers. [journals.lww.com]
- Inguinal Hernia
His only medical problems are seasonal allergies and a history of an inguinal hernia repair. His medications at the time of diagnosis were aspirin 81 mg every other day and three unknown pills taken as part of the Harvard Physician Health Study. [escholarship.org]
Collaboration on Urticaria pigmentosa Bandolier on Urticaria pigmentosa TRIP on Urticaria pigmentosa Clinical Trials Ongoing Trials on Urticaria pigmentosa at Clinical Trials.gov Trial results on Urticaria pigmentosa Clinical Trials on Urticaria pigmentosa [wikidoc.org]
Urticaria pigmentosa - close-up illustration Urticaria pigmentosa in the armpit - illustration Urticaria pigmentosa is characterized by few to many brownish spots which itch and, when scratched, produce welts and reddened skin. [stlukes-stl.com]
The 3 major types of mastocytosis in childhood are urticaria pigmentosa, solitary mastocytoma of the skin, and diffuse cutaneous mastocytosis. Urticaria pigmentosa occurs in 2 distinct types, hereditary and nonhereditary. [consultant360.com]
People sometimes develop generalized flushing and headaches from the massive histamine release from these spots. [stlukes-stl.com]
Individuals sometimes develop flushing and headache resulting from the massive release of histamine from these spots. This is the typical appearance of one of these spots (often referred to as a mastocytoma). [mountsinai.org]
Children with more extensive or reactive skin lesions may experience facial flushing, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Precautions Exercise, heat, or friction can aggravate symptoms. A severe reaction can result in flushing and faintness. [childrens.com]
A severe reaction can result in flushing and faintness. Certain medications can cause mast cell degranulation and should be avoided if there is extensive urticaria pigmentosa. [dermnetnz.org]
- Darier's Sign
Gentle rubbing of the lesions produced wheals suggestive of Darier's sign. [journals.lww.com]
The lesions urticate within 2 to 5 minutes on gentle rubbing and stroking which may remain for 30 minutes to few hours this is known as Darier’s sign. We present a patient who has the classical history, lesions and positive Darier’s sign. [nijp.org]
Symptoms of Urticaria Pigmentosa The most characteristic symptom of urticaria pigmentosa is a rash that appears primarily on the trunk, arms, and legs through Darier's sign. [webmd.com]
Gentle rubbing of the lesions elicited urtication and itching within 2 min and it resolved within 15–20 minutes, suggestive of the Darier's sign [ Figure 1d ]. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
When you rub or scratch them, the lesions respond with a Darier’s sign. A Darier’s sign looks like hives. It’s caused by the release of histamine from the mast cells. In most children, UP goes away by puberty. [healthline.com]
The patient exhibited multiple pigmented papules on the trunk and the extremities. Histological examinations of the papules revealed infiltrates of mast cells in the upper dermis. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
It is characterized by the multiple small reddish-brown pigmented pruritic macules and papules. [profiles.umassmed.edu]
The pigmented macules, papules, and nodules that characterize this abnormality are composed of aggregates of tissue mast cells in the upper dermis. When the lesion is stroked, it urticates; this is due to the liberation of histamine from mast cells. [jamanetwork.com]
[…] adj urtica´rial. cold urticaria urticaria precipitated by cold air, water, or objects, occurring in two forms: In the autosomal dominant form, which is associated with fever, arthralgias, and leukocytosis, the lesions occur as erythematous, burning papules [medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
The lesions started as erythematous macules which at places turned into papules, plaques and sometimes into nodules. The lesions were transient and disappeared on their own after some time leaving pigmentation at some places. [nijp.org]
Skin lesions and pruritus are diminished for up to a year. Repeated photochemotherapy may then be necessary. Steroids are mainly applied topically and constitute a symptomatic therapy aimed at providing relief from pruritus. [symptoma.com]
Treatment with sodium cromoglycate, cetirizine, ranitidine and probiotics resulted in pruritus alleviation, improvement of appetite and sleeping as well as increase of body weight. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Patients do present with typical skin symptoms. Swelling, reddening and itching wheals provoked by touching the light brown skin lesions constitute the Darier's sign and are characteristic of mastocytosis.
Even though generally not necessary, further skin tests may be applied to rule out differential diagnostics. Analysis of a skin biopsy may allow to confirm the diagnosis of UP .
Additional biopsies may be taken to clarify systemic complications and possible involvement of other organs. Here, X-rays may reveal a diminished bone density. Excretion of histamine or its metabolites (1,4-methylimidazole acetic acid) via the urinary tract may be proved by urine tests and also hint at systemic involvement. Of note, the absence of pathological findings in liver function tests does not rule out liver involvement.
Mild forms of UP may be treated by identifying and avoiding environmental triggers of urticaria. More severe cases require pharmacological treatment mainly consisting in stabilizing mast cells and antagonizing the effects of mast cell-derived mediators. The following drugs may be administered:
- Antihistamines. H1-receptor antagonists are applied to treat skin symptoms such as pruritus and flushing and provide the mainstay for pharmacological therapy. H2-receptor antagonists may be prescribed in some cases and may help to relieve systemic symptoms. Antihistamines are not sufficient to treat life-threatening complications such as anaphylaxis, circulatory collapse and shock. These reactions are only rarely observed but require immediate attention. The patient should be aware of this possibility and carry an injectable adrenaline solution.
- Mast cell stabilizers. These drugs avoid mast cell degranulation triggered upon contact with certain antigens. Several weeks of treatment may be necessary to achieve an improvement of headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea and bone pain.
- Acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin may be given in low doses to patients unresponsive to H1- and H2-receptor antagonists. This treatment option should be limited to such cases, since acetylsalicylic acid possible enhances mast cell degranulation and may even aggravate symptoms.
- Photochemotherapy with long wave ultraviolet A radiation (wave length 340-400 nm, PUVA) may be of use in cases of UP . For skin irradiation to cause a significant reduction of mast cells, two or three weekly treatments are required over the course of several months. Skin lesions and pruritus are diminished for up to a year. Repeated photochemotherapy may then be necessary.
- Steroids are mainly applied topically and constitute a symptomatic therapy aimed at providing relief from pruritus. UP lesions may not be cured with such drugs. If systemic symptoms are detected, steroids may need to be administered systemically.
- Immune therapies based on interferon and imatinib may support therapy of severe UP with systemic complications . Data regarding long-term efficacy is not yet available.
There's a strong correlation between age of onset and prognosis. If UP is diagnosed in children younger than 2 years, the prognosis is very good. Here, UP is generally self-limiting and resolves until puberty, although skin lesions usually last for some years and deviations in skin color may persist in some patients.
However, UP is more likely to worsen if detected in adult patients. This is particularly true if internal organs such as the skeletal system, the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract or the central nervous systems are compromised. If such complications are detected, regular monitoring of disease progress is indicated.
Although some cases of UP develop sporadically without any identifiable cause, an autosomal dominant genetic disorder is thought responsible for others . The defective gene may be inherited from any parent or result from a newly acquired mutation. The probability that a child inherits said gene from mother or father is equal and boys and girls do inherit it likewise. Additionally, patients with confirmed genetic defects do not necessarily fully develop UP due to reduced genetic penetrance.
Comprehensive epidemiologic data is not available and the disease is generally considered rare . Estimations reached from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 8,000 cases of mastocytosis among patients consulting dermatologists. Since UP is the most common form of mastocytosis, it presumably accounts for the majority of these cases.
Children are affected more frequently than adults, and about 75% of UP cases are reported in infants. A second, less pronounced peak of manifestation occurs during mid-adulthood, particularly affecting people aged 30 to 50 years.
Regarding prognosis, there are considerable differences between UP cases in children and adults. While childhood UP is generally self-limiting, cases occurring during adulthood may considerably worsen and bring systemic consequences.
UP does affect men slightly more often than women and can be observed most frequently in Caucasians.
UP is the most common form of mastocytosis and is characterized by cutaneous accumulations of mast cells. Furthermore, melanocytes proliferate in these lesions and melanin synthesis is augmented. While aggregated mast cells are responsible for the pruritus associated with UP, melanocyte-mediated hyperpigmentation explains why skin changes appear in a light brown color.
Mastocytosis and melanocyte proliferation are thought to be triggered by locally elevated soluble mast cell growth factor. An impaired mast cell apoptosis has also been proposed to contribute to mastocytosis. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 is upregulated in patients suffering from UP . On the other hand, the proto-oncogene c-kit apparently undergoes activating mutations and local concentrations of interleukin 6 have been found to be augmented . Although interleukin 6 levels were reported to correlate with disease severity, a direct link to pathophysiology of UP has not yet been identified .
Systemic consequences are caused by direct mast cell infiltration or by mast cell-derived mediators acting on different tissues. Such mediators may include histamine, heparine, prostaglandins, neutral proteases and hydrolases. Frequently observed symptoms are headaches, flushing, tachykardia, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Since no direct causes of UP other than genetic disorders are known, preventive measures cannot be recommended .
However, if UP is diagnosed, efforts should be undertaken to identify possible triggers of urticaria. Avoidance of such triggers may be sufficient to treat mild cases of UP. Stress, physical exercise and specific foods are common triggers of UP.
Patients potentially prone to anaphylaxis need a detailed explanation of possible symptoms and treatment. They should also be educated in using injectable adrenaline solutions.
Urticaria pigmentosa (UP) is the most common form of mastocytosis. It is still considered a rare disease and is most frequently diagnosed in infants. UP is accompanied by skin lesions mainly affecting the trunk, but face, neck, arms and legs may also be compromised .
Skin efflorescences usually comprise macula and papules of light brown or reddish color. Since these lesions harbor great numbers of mast cells that liberate mediators such as histamine, heparin, prostaglandines, proteases and hydrolases upon manipulation, rubbing of these spots turns them into itching wheals, in some cases even into blisters . This reaction, also known as Darier's sign, is of utmost importance when diagnosing UP.
UP generally affects children that are only a few months old, but the disease may also be detected in adults. Children do usually develop rather mild cases and symptoms primarily affect the skin. Here, the disease is often self-limiting and skin lesions diminish during the following years until the patient reaches puberty. In contrast, more severe cases are observed in adults. Beyond skin lesions, systemic symptoms may occur. These involve headaches, hypotension, tachykardia, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. They can mainly be explained by the effects of mast cell-derived mediators on different tissues, but direct mast cell infiltration is also possible.
UP is a disease affecting the skin. It is characterized by light brown skin lesions that, in turn, are caused by an excessive accumulation of mast cells. Mast cells are part of the immune system and an excessive accumulation of these cells is called mastocytosis.
Upon touch, mast cells in skin lesions liberate specific mediators responsible for the appearance of intensively itching wheals. Such mediators may be histamine, heparine and other active substances. These pro-inflammatory mediators fulfill important functions in skin and body, but can trigger pathological conditions if liberated in excess.
Although some genetic disorders have been related to UP, as of yet no direct cause could be identified. Said genetic defects usually affect cell proliferation and cell death and may thus lead to augmented numbers of mast cells.
Patients diagnosed with UP should try to identify certain environmental factors aggravating their disease. Avoidance of such triggers can contribute significantly to reduce symptoms:
- Physical exertion
- Physical stimuli (friction, heat)
- Drugs such as aspirin, codeine and opiates
UP typically leads to light brown, sometimes yellowish or reddish skin lesions of the trunk. Skin, arms and legs are rarely affected. These lesions are termed macula and papules and are of different size, they may measure only a few millimeters but can extend to several centimeters. They are generally symmetrical.
Itching is characteristic for UP. If skin lesions are touched, scratched or otherwise manipulated, wheals or hives may develop. Even blisters may be observed. The physician calls this Darier's sign and it points at mastocytosis.
Diagnosis is generally based on clinical examination. A very important finding is the development of elevated, smooth, itching wheals upon manipulation of skin lesions. If doubts remain, a skin biopsy may be taken to confirm diagnosis.
In some cases of UP, internal organs may be compromised. If the physician suspects such complications, additional diagnostic measures such as X-ray examination and urine tests are indicated.
There is no causal therapy for UP. If young children are affected, the disease usually resolves until puberty. Meanwhile symptomatic treatment is carried out. This also applies if UP is diagnosed in adults.
Patients should try to identify environmental factors aggravating their disease. Such factors may include stress, exercise and certain foods and should be avoided. On the other hand, the physician may prescribe antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers or steroids to control itching, skin flushing and possible inflammation. The exact therapy will depend on the severity of the case and individual factors.
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