Laser-Induced Neocollagenesis in Focal Dermal Hypoplasia Associated With Goltz Syndrome in a Girl

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Abstract

Importance

Current models of Goltz syndrome cannot estimate the overall neocollagenesis and marked shift in collagen types after ablative fractional laser resurfacing (AFR) within treated areas of focal dermal hypoplasia (FDH).

Objectives

To clinically improve FDH by using AFR to characterize the specific ratio of collagen types associated with observed clinical changes.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This case report of a girl with Goltz syndrome used extensive laboratory evaluation and multiple observers blinded to the patient’s clinical status. Serial samples of clinically unaffected skin constituted internal control specimens, with clinical and histologic evaluations performed as part of a multicenter investigation. The analysis tested the hypothesis that thermal microtrauma caused by AFR created a unique environment that activated latent genes, inducing neocollagenesis and allowing the patient to adaptively produce the collagen subtype that was specifically deficient at baseline.

Interventions

Two AFR treatments were administered within an area of FDH. Histologic comparison of the pretreatment and posttreatment skin was performed using serial internal controls.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Histologic changes, including Herovici collagen staining to differentiate between types I and III collagen, within a treated area of mosaically affected FDH compared with clinically unaffected skin.

Results

This female patient presented in the second decade of life with self-described red, itchy skin within a large plaque of FDH on her left posterior thigh and calf. After AFR, skin tightening and symptomatic relief were reported. Histologic findings demonstrated objective thickening of the dermal collagen. A marked shift in collagen predominance from type III (fetal/early wound) to type I (adult/mature) was observed.

Conclusions and Relevance

Although further study is needed, this report shows promising results and raises important questions about gene expression and the epigenetics of Goltz syndrome–associated mutations and the local effects of AFR. Coupled with more rigorous investigation, this novel technique may help reveal molecular workarounds permitting innovative therapies that take advantage of the subtly different collagens that exist within the skin.

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