Dermatitis herpetiformis historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Dermatitis Herpetiformis (also called Duhring's disease), is a chronic itchy rash which is frequently associated with Celiac Disease. The rash is made of papules and vesicles which are present on different parts of the body mostly commonly on neck, trunk, buttocks and knees. It is an autoimmune mediated skin condition, which is IgA mediated reaction and is associated with gluten sensitivity of small bowel. There is presence of antibodies which leads to positive serology test results.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is associated with high prevalence of other autoimmune diseases.

Historical Perspective

Dermatitis Herpetiformis also called Duhring's disease after the name of a physician who first described it, Louis Adolphus Duhring in 1884. Initially the disease was put in the category of bullous disease such as pemphigus vulgaris. Later in 1888. another physician named Brocq, described a similar lesion and named it Polymorphic pruritic dermatitis which showed same pathology as dermatitis herpetiformis. Thus, Duhring- Brocq's disease is the synonym for dermatitis herpetiformis. The difference in pathology of bullous diseases from dermatitis herpetiformis was found in 1943 by Civatte. In 1967, a link between dermatitis herpetiformis was established[1][2].


  1. Katz SI. Fitzpatrick TB, Eisen AZ, Woff K, Freedberg IM, Austen KF. Dermatology in General Medicine. 7. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2010. Dermatitis Herpetiformis; pp. 500–504.
  2. Lionel FRY. Dermatitis Herpetiformis: problems, progress and prospects. Eur J Dermatol. 2002;12:523–531.

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