, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 202-210
Date: 20 Jan 2013

Autoinflammatory Skin Disorders in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Pyoderma Gangrenosum and Sweet’s Syndrome: a Comprehensive Review and Disease Classification Criteria

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Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) and Sweet’s syndrome (SS) are skin diseases usually presenting with recurrent ulcers and erythematous plaques, respectively. The accumulation of neutrophils in the skin, characteristic of these conditions, led to coin the term of neutrophilic dermatoses to define them. Recently, neutrophilic dermatoses have been included in the group of autoinflammatory diseases, which classically comprises genetically determined forms due to mutations of genes regulating the innate immune response. Both PG and SS are frequently associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs); however, IBD patients develop PG in 1–3 % of cases, whereas SS is rarer. Clinically, PG presents with deep erythematous-to-violaceous painful ulcers with well-defined borders; bullous, pustular, and vegetative variants can also occur. SS is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, peripheral neutrophilia, tender erythematous skin lesions, and a diffuse neutrophilic dermal infiltrate. It is also known as acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis. Treatment of PG involves a combination of wound care, topical medications, antibiotics for secondary infections, and treatment of the underlying IBD. Topical therapies include corticosteroids and the calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus. The most frequently used systemic medications are corticosteroids and cyclosporine, in monotherapy or in combination. Dapsone, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, intravenous immunoglobulins, mycophenolate mofetil, and plasmapheresis are considered second-line agents. Hyperbaric oxygen, as supportive therapy, can be added. Anti-TNF-α agents such as etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab are used in refractory cases. SS is usually responsive to oral corticosteroids, and the above-mentioned immunosuppressants should be considered in resistant or highly relapsing cases.