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Generalized Lichen nitidus associated with Down's syndrome: case report


Academic year: 2017

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Generalized Lichen nitidus associated with Down's

syndrome - Case report


Liquen nítido geneneralizado associado à síndrome de Down - Relato de caso

Luciane Francisca Fernandes Botelho1

João Paulo Junqueira de Magalhães2

Marília Marufuji Ogawa3

Milvia Maria Silva Simões Enokihara4

Silmara da Costa Pereira Cestari5

Abstract:Lichen nitidus is a disease of unknown etiology, characterized by flesh-colored, shiny papules of 1-2 mm and generally asymptomatic or with mild pruritus. The most common sites of occurrence are genitalia, upper limbs, trunk and abdomen. The generalized form is rare. This is the fourth reported case of lichen nitidus associated with Down Syndrome.

Keywords: Down syndrome; Lichen nitidus; Lichenoid eruptions; Lichens

Resumo:Líquen nítido é uma doença de etiologia desconhecida, caracterizada por pápulas normocrô-micas, brilhantes medindo de 1 a 2 milímetros de diâmetro, geralmente assintomáticas ou com leve pru-rido. A forma mais comum é a localizada nos genitais, membros superiores, tronco e abdome. A forma generalizada é rara. Este é o quarto relato de caso descrito de líquen nítido associado à Síndrome de Down.

Palavras-chave: Erupções liquenóides; Líquen nítido; Liquens; Síndrome de Down

Received on 12.04.2011.

Approved by the Advisory Board and accepted for publication on 17.07.2011.

* Study carried out at the Dermatology Outpatient Clinic, Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil. Conflict of interest: None

Financial funding: None


M.D – Specializing in dermatoscopy and cutaneous tumors – Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil. 2

M.D – Specializing in advanced dermatology - Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil. 3

M.D – Dermatologist at the Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil. 4

Ph.D – Dermatopathologist physician at the Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil. 5

Ph.D – Adjunct Professor of the Dermatology Department, Paulista School of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - EPM-UNIFESP). Head of the Infectious and Parasitary Dermatology Discipline - Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo - UNIFESP) – São Paulo (SP), Brazil.

©2012 by Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia

An Bras Dermatol. 2012;87(3 ):466-8.







Lichen nitidus is a disease of unknown etiology, first described in 1907 by Pinkus. It is characterized by flesh-colored, shiny papules of 1-2mm. The localized form affects preferentially the genitalia, upper limbs, trunk and abdomen. There is no sex or race predilec-tion, but it is more common among children and young adults.1

It is generally asymptomatic but discre-te itching might occur. The prognosis is favorable with spontaneous resolution in the majority of cases. 1,2,3 Koebner phenomenon can be present.3

There are cli-nical variations including confluent, vesicular,

hemorrhagic, palmoplantar, spinous follicular, perfo-rating, linear and generalized forms.1,3

The generali-zed forms are rare and the association with Down’s syndrome has been reported in the literature, but it is not clearly understood.2,4,5



An Bras Dermatol. 2012;87(3 ):466-8. Generalized Lichen nitidus associated with Down's syndrome - Case report 467

hypothyroidism. On physical examination 1-2 mm hypochromic, shiny papules were distributed on face, trunk, upper and lower limbs and genitalia (Figures 1 and 2). Palmoplantar areas were spared (Figure 3). The histopathological study showed lymphohistiocy-tic granulomatous infiltrate focally enlarging papillary dermis, limited by lateral epidermal ridges resembling a “claw” or “baseball glove and ball” image (Figures 4 and 5). The clinical-pathological correlation was com-patible with lichen nitidus. The patient was treated with moisturizing cream and had discrete improve-ment after a two-month follow-up.


To our knowledge this is the fourth case repor-ted in the literature associating generalized lichen nitidus and Down’s syndrome. The first case was des-cribed by Patrizi et al. in 1991 and the subsequent reports were done by Laxmisha & Thappa and Henry & Metry. 2,4,5

All reported cases were on children and only one presented pruritus.2

Koebner phenomenon was present in one case. 5

The proposed treatments, mostly for isolated cases included topical steroids, ammonium lactate lotion, topical immunomodulators and oral cetirizin. In this case we prescribed moisturi-zing cream because there were no symptoms. Some authors suggest that lichen nitidus is a lichen planus variant.3,6

The co-existence of two entities has already been described and in some cases lichen nitidus can progress into lichen planus.1,3

However, these entities have distinctive clinical and histological characteris-tics. Smoller & Flynn demonstrated that the infiltrate was different on lichen nitidus and lichen planus bio-psy samples, using immunohistochemical techniques. 6

The histopathology of lichen nitidus is characteristic, showing lymphohistiocytic granulomatous infiltrate

limited to papillary dermis. The epidermal ridges are thickened into dermis involving the infiltrate that resembles the “baseball glove and ball” image.3

Cutaneous alterations described in patients with Down’s syndrome include: atopic dermatitis, milia-like calcinosis cutis, elastosis perforans serpigi-nosum, onychomycosis, tinea corporis, anetoderma, folliculitis, psoriasis, cheilitis, xeroderma, alopecia areata, palmoplantar hyperkeratosis, syringoma, kera-tosis pilares, vitiligo, seborrheic dermatitis and livedo. 7

Generalized lichen nitidus has already been descri-bed in association with Crohn’s disease, amenorrhea and after treatment with alpha interferon.8,9,10

These reports are sporadic and no relationship between lichen nitidus and systemic disease has been establis-hed. The proposed treatments in the literature have

FIGURE3:Hypochromic shiny papules sparing palmar surface

FIGURE2:Closer view shows 1-2 mm hypochromic papules, with shiny surface distributed on abdomen



An Bras Dermatol. 2012;87(3 ):466-8.

inconstant results, but good outcomes were descri-bed with PUVA, UVB narrow band, astemizole, topical and systemic steroids, oral antihistamines and cyclos-porin.1,2,5,6

Despite these treatments, we considered an expectant observation of asymptomatic cases as a good option, since spontaneous resolution has been

reported in the literature. 1,6

We present this case because of the rare association between Down’s syn-drome and generalized lichen nitidus. Further studies are necessary to explain if this association is just a coincidence. ❑

468 Botelho LFF, Afonso JPJM, Ogawa MM, Enokihara MMSS, Cestari SCP

FIGURE4:(HE 40X) Presence of granuloma focally enlarging papil-lary dermis limited by epidermal ridges forming the “claw image”

FIGURE5:(HE 400X) Papillary dermis granuloma compound with histiocytic center and lymphocytic halo


Luciane Francisca Fernandes Botelho Rua Borges Lagoa 508

04038-001 Vila Clementino - São Paulo, SP. E-mail: lucianebotelho@hotmail.com REFERENCES

Chen W, Schramm M, Zouboulis CC. Generalized lichen nitidus. J Am Acad 1.

Dermatol. 1997;36:630-1.

Laxmisha C, Thappa DM. Generalized lichen nitidus with Down syndrome. J Eur 2.

Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2006;20:1156-7.

Frey MN, Bonamigo RR, Luzzatto L, Machado RB, Seidel GB. Case for diagnosis. 3.

Generalized lichen nitidus in childhood. An Bras Dermatol. 2010;85:561-3. Patrizi A, Dilernia V, Pauluzzi P. Generalized lichen nitidus, trysomy-21 and conge-4.

nital megacolon. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 1991;118:725.

Henry M, Metry DW. Generalized lichen nitidus in association with Down 5.

Syndrome. Pediatr Dermatol. 2009;26:109-11.

Smoller BR, Flynn TC. Immunohistochemical examination of lichen nitidus sug-6.

gests that it is not a localized papular variant of lichen planus. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992;27:232-6.

Madan V, Williams J, Lear JT. Dermatological manifestations of Down's syndrome. 7.

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2006;31:623-9.

Kint A, Meysman L, Bugingo G, Verdonk G, Hublé F. Lichen nitidus and Crohn's 8.

disease. Dermatologica. 1982;164:272-7.

How to cite this arti cle: Botelho LFF, Afonso JPJM, Ogawa MM, Enokihara MMSS, Cestari SCP. Generalized Lichen nitidus associated with Down's syndrome: case report. An Bras Dermatol. 2012;87(3):466-8.

Taniguchi S, Chanoki M, Hamada T. Recurrent generalized lichen nitidus associa-9.

ted with amenorrhea. Acta Derm Venereol. 1994;74:224-5.

Scheler M, Proelss J, Bräuninger W, Bieber T, Wenzel J. Generalized lichen nitidus 10.


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