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Keywords:

  • lines of Blaschko;
  • localized scleroderma;
  • morphoea

Summary

Background  The aetiology of morphoea (or localized scleroderma) remains unknown. It has previously been suggested that lesions of linear morphoea may follow Blaschko’s lines and thus reflect an embryological development. However, the distribution of linear morphoea has never been accurately evaluated.

Objectives  We aimed to identify common patterns of clinical presentation in children with linear morphoea and to establish whether linear morphoea follows the lines of Blaschko.

Methods  A retrospective chart review of 65 children with linear morphoea was performed. According to clinical photographs the skin lesions of these patients were plotted on to standardized head and body charts. With the aid of Adobe Illustrator a final figure was produced including an overlay of all individual lesions which was used for comparison with the published lines of Blaschko.

Results  Thirty-four (53%) patients had the en coup de sabre subtype, 27 (41%) presented with linear morphoea on the trunk and/or limbs and four (6%) children had a combination of the two. In 55 (85%) children the skin lesions were confined to one side of the body, showing no preference for either left or right side. On comparing the overlays of all body and head lesions with the original lines of Blaschko there was an excellent correlation.

Conclusions  Our data indicate that linear morphoea follows the lines of Blaschko. We hypothesize that in patients with linear morphoea susceptible cells are present in a mosaic state and that exposure to some trigger factor may result in the development of this condition.