[The challenge for dermatologists of early APECED diagnosis]

E Puzenat, G Bellaud, P Saugier-Veber, C Crémillieux, B Mignot, P Humbert, F Aubin
Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie 2014, 141 (4): 290-4

BACKGROUND: Polyglandular auto-immune syndrome type 1 (PAS-1) or auto-immune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder linked to auto-immune regulator (AIRE) gene mutations. Herein, we report the case of a 3-year-old boy with APECED emphasizing the wide phenotypic variability and the extent of skin lesions.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A 3-year-old boy with a history of auto-immune hepatitis was referred for a generalized pruriginous urticaria-like eruption present for one month. He was born to non-consanguineous parents. Cutaneous examination revealed twenty-nail dystrophy, which had been present since the age of 2 years. Both direct microscopy and culture of nail samples were negative for Candida albicans. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed esophageal candidiasis. A diagnosis of APECED was suspected and subsequently confirmed by molecular analysis of the AIRE gene, which showed two mutations. No other auto-immune endocrinopathies were found.

DISCUSSION: Our case report illustrates the phenotypic variability of APECED with the absence of typical manifestations such as Addison's disease and hypoparathyroidism. APECED should thus be systematically suspected in young children presenting with cutaneous lesions associated with mucocutaneous candidiasis or auto-immune disease, even in the absence of known endocrinopathies.

CONCLUSION: Dermatologists should be aware of this association since early diagnosis of APECED is critical in preventing life-threatening endocrinological crises.

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