Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Photosensitivity, one of the presenting symptoms in lupus erythematosus (LE), is still poorly defined and varying prevalence figures have been reported. The possibility of a coexisting photodermatosis, especially polymorphous light eruption (PLE), has often not been taken into account. We report the results of ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) photoprovocation tests in 67 clinically photosensitive patients who had confirmed discoid LE (DLE), systemic LE (SLE) or subacute cutaneous LE (SCLE). The results are compared with a detailed history of photosensitivity and with clinical and serological findings. A pathological photoprovocation reaction, graded as weak, moderate or strong, was induced with either UVA or UVB in 69% of patients with LE, in 100% of those with SCLE, in 70% of those with SLE and in 64% of those with DLE, but in none of 14 controls. Only 16% of the pathological reactions were strong and long-lasting, resembling LE lesions, while 48% were moderate or weak and transient, clinically like PLE. Fifty-three per cent of the provocation reactions which were biopsied showed a PLE-like histology or a non-specific inflammatory reaction, and most of them were clinically moderate or weak reactions of short duration. In the remaining, mostly clinically strong or long-lasting reactions, the histology was consistent with LE. A history of sunlight sensitivity did not predict a pathological photoprovocation result but a positive association between the presence of SSA/Ro or SSB/La antibodies and a pathological photoprovocation reaction was found. We have shown that PLE coexists with LE and that both PLE- and LE-like lesions can be induced with UV radiation in LE patients.
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