Dermatitis herpetiformis

Skin Therapy Lett. Mar-Apr 2013;18(3):1-3.


Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an autoimmune, pleiomorphic, papulovesicular disorder associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. DH is characterized by subepidermal bullae on hematoxylin and eosin staining and granular immunoglobulin A deposits in the dermal papillae using the direct immunofluorescence method. Antibodies to tissue transglutaminase and epidermal transgulatminase can be measured serologically, although biopsy is still required for definitive diagnosis of DH. Gluten free diet (GFD) is the first-line therapeutic approach that can alleviate both cutaneous and intestinal manifestations of this condition, while dapsone and sulfones target the skin eruption only. Combined therapy with GFD and dapsone is an initial treatment of choice to control the cutaneous manifestations of DH. This article will provide a comprehensive review of DH, including its epidemiology, clinical and pathological findings, diagnostic evaluation, and management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dapsone / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / pathology
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / therapy*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Direct
  • Humans
  • Leprostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Sulfones / therapeutic use
  • Transglutaminases / immunology


  • Leprostatic Agents
  • Sulfones
  • Dapsone
  • Transglutaminases