ABSTRACT: Celiac disease is a genetically determined bowel disease also influenced by exogenous factors in which exposure to grain components triggers a chronic immune response with intestinal symptoms. Dermatitis herpetiformis represents the cutaneous manifestation of celiac disease. While intense pruritus is the characteristic symptom, clinical signs can be highly variable, ranging from grouped papulovesicles with excoriations or eczema-like lesions to minimal variants of discrete erythema and digital purpura. Diagnosis depends on direct fluorescence studies of perilesional skin displaying granular IgA deposits in dermal papillae. Suspecting and then searching for dermatitis herpetiformis is often clinically challenging, as the disease is a true chameleon with many clinical faces. Dapsone therapy alleviates the cutaneous symptoms and signs, but does not prevent the systemic complications of celiac disease; thus, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is strongly advisable.
Der Hautarzt 12/2006; 57(11):1021-8; quiz 1029. · 0.58 Impact Factor