Skin changes in patients claiming to suffer from "screen dermatitis": a two-case open-field provocation study

Exp Dermatol. 1994 Oct;3(5):234-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.1994.tb00282.x.


An open-field provocation, in front of an ordinary TV set, of 2 patients regarding themselves as suffering from skin problems due to work at video display terminals (VDTs) is presented. Using immunohistochemistry, in combination with a wide range of antisera directed towards cellular and neurochemical markers, we were able to show a high-to-very high number of somatostatin-immunoreactive dendritic cells as well as histamine-positive mast cells in skin biopsies from the anterior neck taken before the start of the provocation. At the end of the provocation the number of mast cells was unchanged; however, the somatostatin-positive cells had seemingly disappeared. The reason for this latter findings is discussed in terms of loss of immunoreactivity, increase of breakdown, etc. The high number of mast cells present may explain the clinical symptoms of itch, pain, edema and erythema. Naturally, in view of the present public debate, the observed results are highly provocative and, we believe, have to be taken seriously.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Dermatitis / metabolism
  • Dermatitis / pathology*
  • Female
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / metabolism
  • Occupational Diseases / pathology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Somatostatin / metabolism


  • Somatostatin
  • Histamine