Dermatitis herpetiformis. Part I. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical presentation

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Jun;64(6):1017-24; quiz 1025-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.09.777.


Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an autoimmune disease that is linked to gluten sensitivity and has a clear relationship to celiac disease. Both conditions are mediated by the IgA class of autoantibodies and the diagnosis of DH is dependent on detection of granular deposits of IgA in the skin. There is an underlying genetic predisposition to the development of DH but environmental factors are also important. Typically, young adults present with excoriations only, as the severe pruritus effectively destroys any primary lesions. Based upon our experience with DH and a comprehensive literature review, we provide an update of DH epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / genetics
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / immunology
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / physiopathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / epidemiology
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G