Background Galli–Galli disease (GGD) is a rare genodermatosis. Its clinical presentation is identical to that of Dowling–Degos disease (DDD), but the presence of the histopathological feature of acantholysis in GGD is thought to distinguish the two disorders. Mutations in the keratin 5 gene (KRT5) have been identified in the majority of patients with DDD and in a small number of patients with GGD.
Objectives To provide further support for the hypothesis that GGD is merely a variant of DDD, and to examine whether acantholysis is genuinely rare in DDD or rather a common but under-reported histological feature of DDD.
Methods We conducted the first systematic mutational investigation of patients with GGD and re-examined the histopathology of patients previously assigned a diagnosis of DDD. For the mutational investigation, KRT5 was sequenced in seven unrelated patients with clinically and histopathologically confirmed GGD. In addition, the histopathological findings of six patients with DDD were re-evaluated.
Results The mutation c.418dupA was found in five patients with GGD. The typical histopathological features of GGD were identified in six patients who had previously been assigned a diagnosis of DDD.
Conclusions We found further evidence to suggest that GGD is indeed a variant of DDD and not a distinct disease entity. Two facts in particular support this conclusion: the same KRT5 mutation was found in patients with GGD and in patients with DDD, and acantholysis seems to be present in a large number of patients who had previously been assigned a diagnosis of DDD.