Vascular Inflammation (Vasculitis) in Sweet Syndrome: A Clinicopathologic Study of 28 Biopsy Specimens From 21 Patients | Allergy and Clinical Immunology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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March 2002

Vascular Inflammation (Vasculitis) in Sweet Syndrome: A Clinicopathologic Study of 28 Biopsy Specimens From 21 Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Drs Malone, Slone, Wills-Frank, and Fearneyhough and Ms Lear), Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine (Drs Fearneyhough and Callen), and Department of Family and Community Medicine (Dr Goldsmith), University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky; and Division of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis (Drs Malone and Hood).

Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(3):345-349. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.3.345

Background  Sweet syndrome is characterized by painful, erythematous plaques of rapid onset accompanied by fever. Absence of vasculitis is a histologic criterion for diagnosis. However, recent reports suggest that vasculitis should not exclude the diagnosis. We hypothesized that vasculitis can occur in Sweet syndrome and that it represents an epiphenomenon rather than a primary immune-mediated process.

Design  Skin biopsy specimens from patients with Sweet syndrome were reviewed to determine the prevalence of vasculitis. The clinicopathologic features of cases with vasculitis were evaluated for statistically significant associations. Specimens with vasculitis underwent immunofluorescence staining.

Setting  University department of dermatology, university hospital, and private practice.

Patients  Medical records and biopsy specimens of 21 patients meeting diagnostic criteria for Sweet syndrome were reviewed.

Interventions  None.

Results  The prevalence of vasculitis was 29% (6 of 21 patients). There was a significant association of vasculitis with lesions of longer duration (P = .02). Vascular immunoglobulin and complement could not be demonstrated in cases of Sweet syndrome with vasculitis.

Conclusions  Vasculitis is not a primary, immune-mediated process in Sweet syndrome but occurs secondary to noxious products released from neutrophils. Blood vessels in lesions of longer duration are more likely to develop vasculitis than those of shorter duration because of prolonged exposure to noxious metabolites. Vasculitis does not exclude a diagnosis of Sweet syndrome.