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June 1977

Cutaneous Neural Proliferation in Highly Pruritic Lesions of Chronic Prurigo

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Cologne, Cologne, West Germany.

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(6):787-791. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640060083010

• Nodular lesions of chronic prurigo correspond to highly sensitive pruritic areas of neural proliferation. This has been shown by light and electron microscopic studies in four patients. Axons and Schwann cells were participating in this process. Their ultrastructure appeared mostly normal; however, some disorganization, axonal swelling, and dystrophy were also observed. At places, newly formed nervous tissue imitated neuromas, surrounded by mononuclear cells and a peculiar cell type which we called "spider cell." The noninvolved skin near the nodules showed no alterations. Occlusion with elastic bandages for four weeks betters the clinical and histological picture. According to these findings, it seems that the neural proliferation in prurigo is a secondary phenomenon due to chronic traumatization by scratching. We also feel that the extreme pruritus in chronic lesions is related to the increased number of dermal nerves.

(Arch Dermatol 113:787-791, 1977)