Phytophotodermatitis: A Review of Its Clinical and Pathogenic Aspects

Hiram Larangeira De Almeida Jr, Débora Sarzi Sartori, Valéria Magalhães Jorge, Nara Moreira Rocha, Luis Antonio Suita de Castro


Phytodermatoses are diseases caused by the contact of human beings with plants. Phytophotodermatitis is a phototoxic reaction entirely independent from the immune system. This reaction occurs when the skin is exposed to photosensitizer substances and to ultraviolet radiation, different from the photoalergic reactions, in which there is an immunologic component. Phytophotodermatitis has a wide range of clinical presentations, the hands are the most common localisation. The Tahiti lemon is the most common cause in Brazil. Experimental researches in animals showed that after 24 hours there are histological changes, characterized by vacuolization and keratinocyte necrosis, which evolves to blister formation after 48 hours, when clinically erythema and blisters could be seen. The initial lesion occurs in the cell membrane and in the desmosomes.

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