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Year : 1992  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 255-256

Light and electron microscopic study in a case of Pityriasis rosea

KN Sarveswari, Patrick Yesudian 

Correspondence Address:
K N Sarveswari


Dyskeratotic cells were seen in mid epidermis in a biopsy specimen taken from the herald patch of pityriasis rosea. No virus like particles were seen.

How to cite this article:
Sarveswari K N, Yesudian P. Light and electron microscopic study in a case of Pityriasis rosea.Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1992;58:255-256

How to cite this URL:
Sarveswari K N, Yesudian P. Light and electron microscopic study in a case of Pityriasis rosea. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1992 [cited 2020 Sep 26 ];58:255-256
Available from: http://www.ijdvl.com/text.asp?1992/58/4/255/3810

Full Text


Ever since Camille Melchoir Gibert [1] first described pityriasis rosea in 1860, various hypothesis have been put forward regarding its aetiology. Electron microscopic demonstration of virus like particles, [2] have favoured an infective aetiology for pityriasis rosea.

 Case Report

Light and electron microscopic studies were done in a biopsy specimen taken from a herald patch of pityriasis rosea.

The light microscopic picture was consistent with earlier studies. [3] It showed focal parakeratosis, spongiosis, mild acanthosis and perivascular inflammatory infiltrate of mostly lymphocytes in the dermis. Of particular interest was the presence of dyskeratotic cells in mid epidermis [Figure 1].

Electron microscopic study of the dyskeratotic cell, showed many cytoplasmic vacuoles, pyknotic nucleus and aggregation of tonofilaments [Figure 2][Figure 3][Figure 4]. No virus like particles were demonstrable.


Though only a picture of chronic dermatitis was seen in the light microscopic study, the presence of dyskeratotic cell was significant [4] Okamato et a1 [4] in their light and electron microscopic study of pityriasis rosea observed these dyskeratotic cells in 55 percent of cases. Electron microscopic study of these cells showed aggregates of tonofilaments and many vacuoles. A similar study conducted by Shiemy El et al, [2] confirmed these changes seen in dyskeratotic cell in electron microscopy. They were also able to demonstrate virus like particles.

It has been speculated by Okamato et al, [4] that : a, virus or some material originating from a virus mar attack epidermal cells and damage it, resulting in the appearance of dyskeratotic cells.

The high incidence of the disease in children and young adults, presence of prodromal symptoms, familial clustering of the disease, its self-limiting course all supported a viral aetiology. Our study, which showed dyskeratotic cells in light microscopy and vacuolated cytoplasm, with aggregation of tonofilaments within the dyskeratotic cell in electron microscopy, is in accordance with previous studies. [2],[4]


Dept. of Pathology, Madras Medical College and General Hospital, Madras.


1Ormsby US, Montgomery H. Pityriasis Rosea. In: Diseases of the Skin. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lee and Febiger, 1955; 334-8.
2Shiemy El, Nassar S, Mokhtar, et al. Light and electron microscopic studies of pityriasis rosea. Int J Dermalol 1987 : 20 : 237 - 9.
3Pannizor R, Block. PH. Histopathology of pityriasis rosea of Gilbert. Light microscopic study of 67 biopsies of 40 patients. In: Year Book of Dermatology (Sober A, Fitzpatrick TB, eds), Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1984; 373-4.
4Okamato H, Imamura S, Aoshima, et al. Dyskeratotic degeneration of epidermal cells in light and electron microscopic studies. Br J Dermatol 1982 : 107 : 189 94.


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