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May 1963

Prevention of Cutaneous Calciphylaxis by Topical Stress

Author Affiliations


Institut de Médecine et de Chirurgie Expérimentales, Université de Montréal.

Arch Dermatol. 1963;87(5):566-574. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590170024005

Large calcified skin plaques are produced if rats pretreated with dihydrotachysterol (DHT) per os are calciphylactically challenged through the infiltration of a subcutaneous tissue area with dilute solutions of ferric dextran (Fe-Dex). A variety of agents such as distilled water, mechanical trauma (pinching the skin with a hemostat), formaldehyde, croton oil, or histamine liberators (e.g., compound 48/80, polymyxin) selectively inhibit this skin calcification at the point where they are applied within the challenged area.

Histologic studies show a relationship between this form of skin calcification, the distribution of mast cells, and the deposition of iron.

As a working hypothesis it is assumed that nonspecific topical stress can inhibit calciphylaxis even without producing evident signs of local injury, such as inflammation or necrosis. This anticalciphylactic effect appears to be one of the most sensitive indicators of local stress; it is accompanied by changes in the mast cells and in the distribution of the challenger (here iron). It remains to be shown, however, whether these diverse manifestations of mild local stress are causally connected.

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