Histopathological changes in morphea and their clinical correlates: Results from the Morphea in Adults and Children Cohort V

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Histopathological features in morphea (localized scleroderma) and their clinical correlates are poorly described.


We sought to systematically describe histologic changes of morphea in a large, well-annotated cohort and determine the association between histopathology and clinical features.


This was a cross-sectional study of 83 patients enrolled in the Morphea in Adults and Children cohort. The main outcome measure was the association of microanatomical location and degree of sclerosis and inflammation seen on histologic samples with patient-reported symptoms and physician-based measures of severity.


Pattern of sclerosis was associated with morphea subtype, the presence of patient-reported symptoms, and functional limitation. A bottom-heavy pattern of sclerosis was associated with pain and tightness (P = .0039 and .001, respectively). These symptoms were not associated with a top-heavy pattern. Severe inflammation may be associated with pain and functional limitation (P = .073 for both).


Small sample size limits ability to detect associations, particularly in subgroups.


Histopathological examination of morphea may assist in identifying patients who may require additional monitoring and treatment. Features such as patterns of sclerosis and severity of inflammation should be included in pathology reports to help aid in clinical management.

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