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January 1974

Dermatitis Herpetiformis: A Specific (Immunopathological?) Entity

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn

Arch Dermatol. 1974;109(1):113. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630010077039

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The vesiculobullous skin diseases of man continue to fascinate and at the same time perplex the dermatologist because of their variable presentations and unknown causes.A proper classification in the past has been problematic and considerable confusion still exists today.

To the ancient physician, all bullous skin eruptions were called pemphigus. Today that diagnosis is reserved for a grave condition that can lead to death without proper therapy. Today, the diagnosis of pemphigus is arrived at by using the four major criteria we use to classify the bullous skin diseases of man, ie, the clinical presentation, the histopathologic picture, the therapeutic response, and the immunologic findings, particularly those demonstrable by immunofluorescent techniques.

In his book, which is really a doctoral thesis, van der Meer poses the question, "Is dermatitis herpetiformis a specific disease entity?" Using the four major criteria mentioned above, he attempts to further unravel a confusing group of subepidermal

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