• Users Online: 568
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

  Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 224-225  

Zinc responsive acrodermatitis in nephrotic syndrome

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication11-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
M Mahalakshmi
Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Madras Medical College, Chennai - 600 003, Tamil Nadu
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.206128

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Mahalakshmi M, Balamurugan L, Madhu R, Ramesh A. Zinc responsive acrodermatitis in nephrotic syndrome. Indian Dermatol Online J 2017;8:224-5

How to cite this URL:
Mahalakshmi M, Balamurugan L, Madhu R, Ramesh A. Zinc responsive acrodermatitis in nephrotic syndrome. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jan 24];8:224-5. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2017/8/3/224/206128


A 13-year-old boy presented with dark-colored, itchy skin lesions over both the extremities and back since 6 months. He was previously diagnosed as a case of lichen planus, dermatophytosis, and scabies elsewhere, and was treated unsuccessfully. He was a known case of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome since the age of 7 years and had received oral corticosteroids and cyclosporin. There was no history of aerodigestive distubances. General examination showed cushingoid features. Dermatological examination revealed symmetrical, well-defined, scaly, hyperpigmented papules, and plaques over the lower extremities, gluteal region, groin, genitalia, elbows, dorsum of hands, and lower trunk, admixed with hypopigmentation and depigmentation [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b, which resolved following treatment with oral zinc [Figure 1]c and [Figure 1]d. Face, hair, nails, palms, soles, and mucosae were normal. Provisional diagnosis of acrodermatitis in nephrotic syndrome due to zinc deficiency was made.
Figure 1: (a and b) Psoriasiform and lichenoid papules and plaques involving groin and both gluteal regions. (c and d) Complete resolution of the lesions following treatment, with residual pigmentation

Click here to view

His serum zinclevel was16.2 μg/dl (normal: 70-150 μg/dl) and serum alkaline phosphatase was 52 IU/L (normal: 70-390 IU/L), which were low in addition to hypoproteinemia, hypoalbuminemia, and proteinuria. Renal parameters were normal and hepatitis B/C serology were negative. Renal biopsy showed focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (not otherwise specified), with clusters of foam cells in the interstitium (Alports syndrome to be ruled out). However, on audiogram, hearing sensitivity was normal in both ears and ophthalmic examination was normal. Urine protein was 3+. Biopsy from the skin lesion showed hyperkeratosis, parakeratosis, subcorneal vesicles, spongiosis, psoriasiform acanthosis, and perivascular infiltrate consisting of mononuclear cells [Figure 2]a and [Figure 2]b.
Figure 2: (a) Biopsy from the lesion revealed hyperkeratosis, parakeratosis, subcorneal vesicles, spongiosis, psoriasiform acanthosis, and perivasular infiltrate consisting of mononuclear cells (Hematoxylin and eosin; x10). (b) Biopsy from the lesion showed subcorneal vesicles. (Hematoxylin and eosin; x40)

Click here to view

Based on the above mentioned findings, a diagnosis of acrodermatitis due to acquired zinc deficiency was confirmed. Patient was started on oral zinc at a dose of 1 mg/kg/day. Lesions started resolving in 3 weeks, and complete resolution was observed at the end of 2 months with residual pigmentation and without any change in the course of renal disease.

The dermatological manifestations of zinc deficiency may be acute or insidious in nature. Acute deficiency can manifest as vesiculobullous, erosive, or as a scaling eruption involving the periorificial areas, hands and feet, whereas chronic deficiency presents as lichenified and psoriasiform plaques on the dorsa of hands and feet.[1]

The probable mechanisms for zinc deficiency in nephrotic syndrome are decreased intestinal absorption due to gut edema, increased intestinal secretion, and proteinuria.[2]

The exact pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying the dermatological manifestations in zinc deficiency are still an enigma. Not all patients with zinc deficiency in nephrotic syndrome develop skin manifestations. Either concomitant immunosuppression may prevent development of overt skin manifestations or zinc deficiency in these patients is not severe enough to produce symptoms.[3]

Zinc deficiency can be diagnosed by decreased serum zinc and alkaline phosphatase levels, the latter should be monitored along with serum zinc levels during the evaluation and treatment of zinc deficiency.

Treatment consists of zinc supplementation at 1mg/kg in divided doses, and higher doses are recommended if continuing renal or gastrointestinal loss is suspected.[4] Maintanence dose should be administered after clinical resolution.

This case is being reported for its rarity, unusual extensive involvement of lower trunk, and gluteal areas, which has not been reported in previous literature,[5] as well as to highlight the significance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment which will help to reduce the morbidity and improve the quality of life.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Weissman K, Wadskov S, Mikkelsen HI, Knudsen L, Christensen KC, Storgaard L. Acquired zinc deficiency dermatoses in man. Arch Dermatol 1978;114:1509-11.  Back to cited text no. 1
Joshi A, Ratnu KS, Joshi KC, Vyas PC. Trace elements in nephrotic syndrome and chronic renal failure. Indian J Nephrol 1993;3:48-50.  Back to cited text no. 2
Perrone L, Gialanella G, Giordano V, La Manna A, Moro R, Di Toro R. Impaired zinc metabolic status in children affected by idiopathic nephritic syndrome. Eur J Paediatr 1990;149:438-40.  Back to cited text no. 3
Reimold EW. Changes in zinc metabolism during the course of the nephrotic syndrome. Am J Dis Child 1980;134:46-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
Topal AA, Dhurat RS, Naval CS. Zinc responsive acrodermatitis in nephrotic syndrome: A rare presentation. Indian J Dermatol Venerol leprol 2012;78:122-3.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded185    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal