[Skip to Navigation]
February 1992

Restrictive Dermopathy in Two Brothers

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Happle and Steijlen), Pathology (Dr Schuurmans Stekhoven), Human Genetics (Dr Hamel), Pediatrics (Dr Kollée), and Obstetrics (Dr Nijhuis), University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands), and the Institute for Ultrastructure Research of the Skin, Department of Dermatology (Dr Anton-Lamprecht), University of Heidelberg (Federal Republic of Germany).

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(2):232-235. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680120104012

• Background.—  Restrictive dermopathy is an autosomal recessive phenotype characterized by universal tautness of skin resulting in fetal akinesia and death during the neonatal period. The clinical signs and symptoms of this uncommon disease are described in two brothers, and evidence is provided that fetal biopsy specimens obtained during the 20th week of gestational age are nondiagnostic.

Observations.—  The first patient was a growth-retarded preterm boy suffering from generalized desquamation, marked joint contractures, and facial hypoplasia. Prominent light microscopic findings were hyperorthokeratosis intermingled with parakeratosis and absence of the elastic fibers in a thinned dermis. Electron microscopic examination of the epidermis revealed a lack of keratin filaments and an abnormal globular shape of the keratohyalin granules. The child died 4 days after birth. A following pregnancy resulted in birth of a preterm boy who died of the same disease within 2 hours. In the 20th week of gestational age, fetal biopsy specimens were obtained, but light and electron microscopy failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Conclusions.—  Restrictive dermopathy is a genuine skin disease resulting in fetal akinesia that precludes a normal intrauterine development. The clinical features of this disorder are so distinctive that an on-the-spot diagnosis can be established. In view of the data obtained in this case, the feasiblity of prenatal diagnosis should be regarded with great caution.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:232-235)

Add or change institution