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Dermatology Online Journal

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Follicular psoriasis: a report of 5 cases and review of the literature, likely an under-recognized yet distinctive variant of psoriasis


Psoriasis is a common autoimmune dermatosis representing an interplay between certain genetic predisposing factors along with clonally restricted Th1 T cells responding to epidermal keratinocyte derived antigen. A unique IL17/IL23 cytokine-rich milieu is pathogenetically significant and conducive to its salient histomorphologic features, such as epidermal hyperplasia and intraepidermal influx of neutrophils. The classic cutaneous manifestation is that of plaque psoriasis also referred to as psoriasis vulgaris with characteristic well-circumscribed erythematous plaques covered by silvery scales. Follicular psoriasis is an uncommon variant manifesting as a scaly folliculocentric hyperkeratotic eruption of the trunk and extremities, irrespective of the presence or absence of conventional lesions of psoriasis vulgaris. In this study we present 5 cases of follicular psoriasis, review the literature, and provide a proposal regarding relevant pathologic findings and potential pathogenetic mechanisms. The incidence of follicular psoriasis is unknown, emphasizing its rarity given the overall incidence of conventional psoriasis in the general population. Owing to the lack of awareness, this clinical presentation is often mistaken for other follicular dermatoses, including bacterial folliculitis, pityriasis rubra pilaris, keratosis pilaris, or follicular eczema.

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