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March 1972

Trichomycosis Axillaris

Arch Dermatol. 1972;105(3):459. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620060089023

To the Editor.—  Dr. Orfanos and his colleagues in their report in the Archives on the destruction of hair in trichomycosis axillaris by Corynebacterium tenuis (103:632, 1971) state that until this time, "Even the affected hair was thought to be undamaged." While the scanning electron micrographs demonstrate the invasive properties of these microorganisms very effectively, these findings have been observed previously by transmission electron microscopy and light microscopy.1We were also particularly interested in the following statement made by these authors: "This bacterium is obviously able to destroy keratin" as we have been reprimanded by various editors in the past for making this assumption. While the study of keratolytic activity may seem unimportant in trichomycosis axillaris, it presents a useful model for the study of the breakdown of skin keratin which has been observed in other corynebacterial infections such as erythrasma.2The obvious destruction of the

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