Cutaneous lesions due to vitamin A deficiency in man have been described by many authors. The most characteristic feature of such lesions is the formation of keratotic plugs in the hair follicles, with the resulting typically rough, dry skin variously described as phrynoderma, "toad skin" and "nutmeg grater skin."
In experimental animals similar lesions have not been observed. Wolbach and Howe 1 have reported slight but demonstrable atrophy of hair follicles and sebaceous glands but not distended keratinized follicles. Portman 2 has described the loss of subcutaneous fatty tissue and a reduction in the total number of hair follicles present.
The present investigation, however, has revealed that keratotic plugs may readily be induced in rats maintained on a diet deficient in vitamin A and that these plugs are identical with those occurring in the human subject. Access to a large amount of graded material has made possible a detailed study
MOULT FH. HISTOPATHOLOGY OF RAT SKIN IN AVITAMINOSIS A. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1943;47(6):768–777. doi:10.1001/archderm.1943.01500240008002
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