Inherited ichthyoses: a review of the histology of the skin

Pediatr Pathol Lab Med. 1996 May-Jun;16(3):359-78. doi: 10.1080/15513819609168677.


The histology of skin biopsies from 46 cases of different forms of congenital ichthyosis was reviewed. Sections were examined for hyperkeratosis, follicular keratosis, appearance of the granular layer, epidermal thickness, tonofilament clumps, epidermal vacuolation, spongiosis, bullae and dyskeratosis, appearance of the basal layer, inflammation, mitoses, and adnexae. A detailed description of the histological features of each type of ichtnyosis studied is presented. Some ichthyoses can be recognized on routine hematoxylin and eosin staining (bullous ichthyosiform erythroderma, Netherton's syndrome, and neutral lipid storage disease); some forms require frozen sections to demonstrate fat (neutral lipid storage disease) or enzyme activity (Sjögren-Larsson syndrome). Protein electrophoresis and enzymology are necessary for X-linked recessive ichthyosis. A close liaison with the clinicians is essential for the diagnosis of all types of ichthyosis, and combined studies including routine histopathology, electron microscopy, and frozen sections may be required for the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis / etiology*
  • Ichthyosis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Skin / anatomy & histology*