Clonal T-cell populations in pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta (Mucha-Habermann disease)

Am J Pathol. 1987 Mar;126(3):417-21.


Patients with the skin disorder pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA) develop recurrent, self-healing papulonecrotic lesions that contain infiltrates of cytologically and antigenically normal T lymphocytes. DNA extracted from the lesions of 3 patients with PLEVA was analyzed for rearrangement of beta-T-cell receptor genes for the purpose of assessing the clonality of T lymphocytes within the tissues of this disease. Lesions from all 3 cases showed clonal gene rearrangements. In each of 2 cases from which two separate lesions were biopsied, identical rearrangements were found in specimens from both sites. DNA from a variety of inflammatory lesions obtained from patients with other types of skin diseases failed to show detectable rearrangements of beta-T-cell receptor genes. These results suggest that PLEVA represents a T-cell lymphoproliferative process, rather than an inflammatory disorder, as had been previously thought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Humans
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / pathology
  • Parapsoriasis / immunology
  • Parapsoriasis / pathology*
  • Pityriasis / immunology
  • Pityriasis / pathology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes