Palmoplantar pustulosis: a clinical and immunohistological study

Br J Dermatol. 1998 Mar;138(3):390-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1998.02113.x.


Pustulosis palmoplantaris (PPP) is a common chronic skin disease, which is very resistant to treatment. It is not known why the lesions are located in the palms and soles. There are few studies of the disease and in particular studies of the histology. Fifty-nine patients with PPP answered a questionnaire concerning their medical history and 39 of them were clinically examined. Biopsy specimens were taken from involved skin in 22 of the 39 patients and studied immunohistologically for tryptase+ mast cells, EG2+ eosinophils, lipocalin+ neutrophils and CD3+ T lymphocytes. The sweat gland and sweat duct were visualized with AE1/AE3 antibody (cytokeratins 1-8, 10, 14/15, 16, 19). In addition to neutrophils in the pustule and lymphocytes in the upper dermis, there were also large numbers of mast cells and eosinophils in the subpustular area. Numerous eosinophils were present in the pustule. The epidermal part of the eccrine duct was not detectable in any of the specimens from patients with PPP but was present in all of the nine control persons (including two smokers). The results indicate that the acrosyringium is involved in the inflammation and also that mast cells and eosinophils participate in a hitherto unknown way. Of the 39 patients clinically examined, two had previously diagnosed thyroid disease and two had gluten hypersensitivity. Seventeen had one or several abnormal serum concentrations of thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroxin, antibodies against thyroglobulin or thyroperoxidase and 10 had immunoglobulin (Ig) A antibodies to gliadin. The mean +/- SD for serum IgA and for eosinophil cationic protein was increased. From the questionnaire the most notable finding was that 56 of the 59 patients had been or still were smokers, all of whom had started smoking before the first signs of PPP. We hypothesize that the acrosyringium might be the target for the inflammation and that PPP is linked to autoimmune thyroid disease and smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • Female
  • Foot Dermatoses / immunology*
  • Foot Dermatoses / pathology
  • Hand Dermatoses / immunology*
  • Hand Dermatoses / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Sweat Glands / pathology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications


  • CD3 Complex