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October 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Allergy Unit, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1951;64(4):385-406. doi:10.1001/archderm.1951.01570100002001

WHILE sarcoidosis has been receiving increasing attention in medical literature, there is still no agreement concerning its cause. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss some of the etiologic and immunologic concepts which have been advanced, in order to see what evidence there is for and against the various theories. By sarcoidosis is meant the systematized condition which goes under a variety of names, of which the three most prevalently used are Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann disease, lymphogranulomatosis benigna, and sarcoidosis. A local sarcoid reaction or sarcoid tubercle can arise as a result of a variety of stimuli and will not be further considered in this discussion except as a part of a systematized sarcoidosis.

The major theories concerning the causation of sarcoidosis are the following:

  1. A. It is not an etiologic entity but can be caused by a variety of infectious agents, among them the tubercle bacillus, the spirochete of syphilis, the bacillus of leprosy, and others.