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What is actinic prurigo in Britain?

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Actinic prurigo (AP) belongs to the group of idiopathic photodermatoses sharing a predilection for occurring more commonly in females, and there is much controversy as to whether it is only a more severe form of polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) or whether it is a distinct entity in its own right. The condition is characterised by intensely itchy papules, plaques and nodules, along with excoriations and scars usually starting before puberty, and predominantly involves the sun‐exposed areas although it may also affect covered sites. Seasonal exacerbations at the beginning of spring with improvement in the fall are typical, although the lesions frequently do not clear completely in the winter. The disorder may run a chronic course and persist into adulthood, but often spontaneous resolution occurs in late adolescence. Diagnosis is predominantly based on the clinical features, cutaneous irradiation tests and histology often being normal or non‐specific. HLA typing has also been performed in both PMLE and AP patients, showing a strong association between HLA‐DR4, in particular with the DRB1*0407 subtype, and AP; no HLA association has been found in PMLE. This HLA association is likely to be of pathogenic significance and strongly suggests a critical role for MHC‐restricted antigen presentation in the development of photosensitivity AP.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Photobiology Department, St. John's Institute of Dermatology, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, UK

Publication date: 1997-06-01

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