Reduced threshold to suction-induced blister formation in insulin-dependent diabetics

J E Bernstein, L E Levine, M M Medenica, C W Yung, K Soltani
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 1983, 8 (6): 790-1
Diabetics may have an increased susceptibility to cutaneous blister formation clinically manifest as the bullous eruption of diabetes. We evaluated the mechanical force necessary to induce suction blisters in fifteen insulin-dependent diabetics and twenty age-matched normal controls. The mean suction blister threshold for the diabetics was 31.9 minutes versus 68.0 minutes for the controls, a highly significant difference (p less than 0.01). Histologic appearance of suction blisters was similar in diabetic and normal skin, under both light and electron microscopic examination, with a noninflammatory subepidermal separation in the lamina lucida between the cell membrane and the basal lamina. These results demonstrate that insulin-dependent diabetics have a marked reduction in suction blister threshold as compared to age-matched controls.

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