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Book and New Media Reviews
February 2003

Autoimmune Diseases of the Skin: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management

Author Affiliations
 

edited by Michael Hertl, 373 pp, $54, ISBN 3-211-83598-9, New York, NY, Springer-Verlag Wien, 2001.

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(2):235. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.2.235-a

Considering the special place that lupus, dermatomyositis, pemphigus, and the other autoimmune diseases occupy in the collective psyche of dermatologists, it is perhaps surprising that virtually no books specifically focusing on these disorders as a group have been published in English during the past decade. Editor Michael Hertl has helped fill this void by assembling a stellar cast of internationally recognized experts in the production of Autoimmune Diseases of the Skin. The first of the 13 chapters is an overview of the common immunologic processes that underlie autoimmunity. Subsequent chapters are devoted to specific autoimmune diseases with cutaneous features, including the autoimmune blistering diseases, scleroderma, lupus, dermatomyositis, Sjögren syndrome, and the small-vessel vasculitides. Hertl has also taken the visionary (or renegade, depending on one's perspective) step of including several other diseases that have only recently come to be recognized as possibly having an autoimmune basis: psoriasis, chronic urticaria, and lichen planus. In each of the chapters is a discussion of the currently understood pathogenesis, clinical features, and general approaches to management of the diseases. Two other chapters that respectively discuss the epidemiology of autoimmune skin disorders (paying special attention to lupus, systemic sclerosis, and bullous pemphigoid) and new therapeutic approaches to the management of the autoimmune skin disorders (the use of calcineurin inhibitors, tumor necrosis factor α blockade, immunoadsorption of pathogenic plasma proteins, and others) round out the work. Black-and-white and some color photographs (including 2 photographs of dermatomyositis patients with psychedelic lilac rashes) complement the text.

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