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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 95-97  

Lipoid proteinosis (Urbach-Wiethe disease) in two siblings

1 Department of Pediatrics, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India
3 Department of Dermatology, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India
4 Department of Dentistry, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication5-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rekha Thaddanee
Department of Pediatrics, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan - 384 265, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.146168

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Lipoid proteinosis is a very rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by deposition of hyaline material in the skin and the upper aerodigestive tract. Hoarseness of voice occurs very early in life and airway obstruction may occur. Characteristic skin lesions include multiple brown atrophic scars over face and distal extremities, beaded papules over the margins of the eyelids and verrucous nodules over the friction bearing areas (elbows, knees). The overall prognosis is good. There is no definitive treatment.

Keywords: Autosomal recessive disease, hyalinosis cutis et mucosae, lipoid proteinosis, Urbach-Wiethe disease

How to cite this article:
Thaddanee R, Khilnani AK, Pandya P, Chaturvedi M. Lipoid proteinosis (Urbach-Wiethe disease) in two siblings. Indian Dermatol Online J 2014;5, Suppl S2:95-7

How to cite this URL:
Thaddanee R, Khilnani AK, Pandya P, Chaturvedi M. Lipoid proteinosis (Urbach-Wiethe disease) in two siblings. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Aug 4];5, Suppl S2:95-7. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2014/5/6/95/146168

   Introduction Top

Lipoid proteinosis, also known as hyalinosis cutis et mucosae (Urbach-Wiethe disease), is a rare autosomal recessive disease usually presenting with mucocutaneous lesions starting since birth. It was first reported by Erich Urbach and Camillo Weith in 1929. Till date, around 300 cases have been reported in literature. Rarely, two siblings are affected, particularly in consanguineous marriages. All the clinical features of the disease may not be present in all cases. The presence of all characteristic clinical features of Urbach-Wiethe disease in both siblings in our case makes this a unique case report.

   Case Report Top

An 11-year-old male patient, born to consanguineous parents, presented with hoarseness of voice since early childhood, multiple scars over the skin of face and dorsum of hands, and papules over elbows and buttocks. One of his two younger sisters, 9 years old, had similar complaints. Patient was normal at birth, but after 3 days of life developed weak cry and hoarseness of voice. At 2 months of age skin lesions began to appear. Initially, only face was involved; subsequently, lesions appeared over the buttocks, knees, and elbows. At presentation, both siblings had multiple brownish atrophic scars over the face [Figure 1]. Hypertrophied and hyperkeratotic nodules were present over the elbows [Figure 2]. Beaded papules were seen along the margins of the eyelids [Figure 3]. The tongue was thick and could not be protruded [Figure 4]. Patchy diffuse alopecia was seen in both the siblings. Under general anesthesia, direct laryngoscopic examination was done in the male patient. Both vocal cords were thickened, though the glottic space was adequate. The mucosa over rest of the larynx was pale and irregular. Histopathology of a verrucous papule from the elbow revealed diffuse dermal deposition of a pale, homogenous, eosinophilic, hyaline-like material around blood vessels and adnexa (sweat glands), which was Congo-red-negative and Periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) positive [Figure 5]. Epidermal hyperkeratosis was also noted. Radiograph of the skull did not reveal any calcifications. Biochemical parameters were within normal limits.
Figure 1: Multiple scars over face

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Figure 2: Warty nodules over elbow

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Figure 3: Beaded papules along the margins of eyelids

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Figure 4: Thick and immobile tongue

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Figure 5: PAS-positive, homogenous, eosinophilic, hyaline-like material (PAS stain; Magnification ×10)

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Based on the typical clinical and histopathological features, the diagnosis of lipoid proteinosis was made.

   Discussion Top

Lipoid proteinosis is characterized by infiltration of hyaline material into the skin, oral cavity, larynx, and internal organs. [1] The genetic abnormality lies in the loss-of-function mutation in chromosome 1 at 1q21, the extracellular matrix protein 1 (ECM1) gene. [2]

The symptoms vary from individual to individual. The presenting symptom may be hoarseness of voice during infancy as was in our case. Skin lesions appear during childhood and consist of yellowish papules and nodules that may coalesce to form plaques on the face, forearms, neck, genitals, and dorsum of the fingers and scalp. [3] Similar lesions are also found on lips, undersurface of tongue, uvula, and larynx. Laryngeal involvement may lead to respiratory compromise necessitating a tracheostomy. Tongue is thickened and firm on palpation and cannot be protruded completely. Translucent-beaded papules along the margins of the eyelids are the most characteristic clinical feature [4] as seen in our case. Hypertrophied and hyperkeratotic nodules occur at friction sites such as elbows and knees. Associated anomalies may include dental abnormalities, epilepsy, and recurrent parotitis.

The diagnosis is essentially clinical. The clinical triad of early onset hoarse voice, typical skin lesions, and beaded papules around eyelids confirms the diagnosis. Various laboratory tests can be helpful in supporting the diagnosis. The skin tissue stains strongly with PAS as it contains hyaline. Immunohistochemical skin labelling for antibodies against the EMC1 protein has been shown to be reduced in Urbach-Wiethe disease. [5] Staining with anti-type III, anti-type IV, or anti-type VII collagen antibodies reveals bright, thick bands at the dermoepidermal junction. More than half of the patients have shown bilaterally symmetrical damage in the amygdaloid region on computed tomography scan studies. [6]

The disease is compatible with a normal life span. The disfiguring lesions and the permanent hoarseness may seriously impair quality of life. There is no definitive therapy at present, although dimethyl sulfoxide, oral retinoids, and dermabrasion have been shown to reduce skin lesions. Surgical management consists of microlaryngeal surgery of the vocal cords using CO2 laser to reduce their thickness and hence hoarseness.

The Urbach-Weithe disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis whenever a child presents with a weak cry or a hoarse voice during early life.

   References Top

Di Giandomenico S, Masi R, Cassandrini D, El-Hachem M, De Vito R, Bruno C, et al. Lipoid proteinosis: Case report and review of the literature. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 2006;26:162-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hamada T, McLean WH, Ramsay M, Ashton GH, Nanda A, Jenkins T, et al. Lipoid proteinosis maps to 1q21 and is caused by mutations in the extracellular matrix protein 1 gene (ECM1). Hum Mol Genet 2002;11:833-40.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hamada T. Lipoid proteinosis. Clin Exp Dermatol 2002;27:624-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Caro I. Lipoid proteinosis. Int J Dermatol 1978;17:388-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chan I, Liu L, Hamada T, Sethuraman G, McGrath JA. The molecular basis of lipoid proteinosis: Mutations in extracellular matrix protein 1. Exp Dermatol 2007;16:881-90.  Back to cited text no. 5
Siebert M, Markowitsch HJ, Bartel P. Amygdala, affect and cognition: Evidence from 10 patients with Urbach-Wiethe disease. Brain 2003;126:2627-37.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

This article has been cited by
1 Lipoid proteinosis: A case with distinct histopathological and radiological findings
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