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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2009 April;144(2):135-47


language: English

The different faces of cutaneous lupus erythematosus

Renner R. 1, Sticherling M. 2

1 Clinic for Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology University of Leipzig, Germany 2 Clinic of Dermatology University Hospital of Erlangen, Germany


Lupus erythematosus is a chronic and inflammatory multiorgan disease with variable clinical appearance and variable course. Most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus show cutaneous manifestations and conversely, all forms of cutaneous LE may change into a systemic involvement. Specific lesions of cutaneous LE are classified in different subtypes of acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ACLE), subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CDLE) and intermittent cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ICLE) according to clinical, histological and immunoserological parameters. Regular laboratory tests are important to monitor the activity and course of the disease or side effects of the therapy. In case of clinical or laboratory dysfunctions of internal organs, additional technical investigations are necessary. Histology is needed to support clinical diagnosis. A large number of drugs are able to induce SCLE, e.g. hydrochlorothiazide, terbinafine, or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Drug-induced SCLE can be differentiated by possible complementary immunoserological parameters. Neonatal lupus can be induced by transplacental transmission of maternal anti-Ro(SS-A) and anti-La(SS-B)-antibodies. Children with neonatal lupus might suffer from congenital atrioventricular block. Their mothers may suffer from active LE, but can be clinically healthy as well. As a consequence, pregnancies at risk should be monitored in short intervals by serial echocardiographic interventions. Protection against UV light is recommended for all types of CLE. There are some topical and many systemic treatment options e.g. topical and systemic glucocorticosteroids, antimalarial drugs, dapsone, azathioprine, or mycophenolat mofetil with different response to skin or organ involvement.

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