Atrophying pityriasis versicolor as an idiosyncratic T cell–mediated response toMalassezia: A case series

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Abstract

Background

Atrophying pityriasis versicolor (PV), first described in 1971, is a rare variant in which lesions appear atrophic.

Objective

We sought to determine the pathophysiology of atrophying PV.

Methods

A retrospective chart review identified 6 cases of atrophying PV. In all cases, routine light microscopy, an elastic tissue stain, and immunohistochemical assessment for the expression of CD3, CD4, CD8, GATA3 and CXCR3 was performed.

Results

All cases demonstrated hyperkeratosis with intracorneal infiltration by pathogenic hyphal forms as well as epidermal attenuation and papillary dermal elastolysis. A supervening, mild-to-moderate, superficial lymphocytic infiltrate was noted and characterized by a focal CD8+ T cell–mediated interface dermatitis along with a mixed T–cell infiltrate composed of GATA3+ and CXCR3+ T cells.

Limitations

Small sample size and the loss of some patients to follow-up.

Conclusion

Atrophying PV represents the sequelae of a mixed helper T–cell (TH1 and TH2) idiosyncratic immune response to Malassezia and can present as a protracted dermatosis that may clinically mimic an atypical lymphocytic infiltrate. TH1 cytokines can recruit histiocytes, a source of elastases, and upregulate matrix metalloproteinase activity, which may contribute to epidermal atrophy.

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