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April 1984

Herpes Gestationis in Blacks

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas (Drs Shornick and Gilliam). Dr Meek is in private practice in Baton Rouge, La. Dr Nesbitt is in private practice in New Orleans. Dr Shornick is now with the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington.

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(4):511-513. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650400093021

• To our knowledge, only two cases of herpes gestationis (HG) have been previously reported in black patients. We describe herein two black women with confirmed HG. Both had typical historical and clinical features of the disease. Direct immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated complement deposition along the dermoepidermal junction in both women. Where HLA typing was possible (in one patient), the combination of HLA-DR3 and HLA-DR4 was found. In addition, anti-HLA-DR2 antibodies were present in serum samples taken from this patient. The occurrence of the HLA-DR3-DR4 combination has been reported to be greatly increased in whites with HG (43%, as compared with a 3% incidence in control subjects). The HLA-DR4 antigen is uncommon in American blacks, which may explain the infrequent occurrence of HG in this population. The occurrence of the DR2 antigen is increased in the husbands of women with HG, and this increase is most pronounced in the husbands of patients with the DR3-DR4 combination. The occurrence of positive immunofluorescence microscopy findings, together with the presence of a rare histocompatibility antigen combination previously associated with HG and the presence of anti-DR2 antibodies in the serum of one of our patients all suggest that HG is pathogenically identical in both blacks and whites.

(Arch Dermatol 1984;120:511-513)

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