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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 36, n° 6
pages 899-907 (juin 1997)
Doi : 10.1016/S0190-9622(97)80269-1
accepted : 27 January 1997

Cutaneous manifestations of chronic granulomatous disease : A report of four cases and review of the literature

Magdalene Dohil, MD a, Julie S. Prendiville, MB MRCPI, FRCPC a, , Richard I. Crawford, MD FRCPC a, David P. Speert, MD FRCPC b
a Division of Dermatology, British Columbia's Children's Hospital, and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 
b Division of Infectious and Immunological Diseases, British Columbia's Children's Hospital, and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 

*Reprint requests: Julie S. Prendiville, MB, MRCPI, FRCPC, 1A-20 BC's Children's Hospital, 4480 Oak St., Vancouver BC V6H 3V4, Canada.

Chronic granulomatous disease represents a group of genetic disorders in which impaired intracellular microbial killing by phagocytes leads to recurrent bacterial and fungal infections and granuloma formation. Cutaneous disease occurs in 60% to 70% of cases. The characteristic histologic finding of pigmented lipid macrophages in visceral granulomas has not been described previously in the skin.


Our purpose was to review our experience of skin disorders in chronic ranulomatous disease.


We studied the clinical and histologic findings in four patients with chronic granulomatous disease and unusual skin lesions. We reviewed the skin disorders seen in five additional patients with chronic granulomatous disease referred to the pediatric dermatology clinic. The literature was reviewed for previously reported cutaneous manifestations of chronic granulomatous disease.


A teenage boy with chronic granulomatous colitis had nonulcerating cutaneous granulomas from which no organisms were isolated. Histologic examination of both skin and bowel revealed the characteristic golden-yellow granular pigment in macrophages. A second boy had cutaneous aspergillosis involving the left foot; histologic examination revealed macrophages containing yellow-brown pigment at the periphery of the granulomatous inflammation. Two children had vesicular skin lesions. These lesions were recurrent in one boy for several years. In the second child they were associated with fatal intracranial and pulmonary infection. Histologic examination in both cases revealed a subcomeal polymorphonuclear infiltrate and perivascular macrophages containing yellow-brown pigment. Cultures were either negative or revealed organisms that are normally nonpathogenic skin commensals, such as coagulase-negative staphylococci.


The cutaneous manifestations of chronic granulomatous disease encompass a variety of infections and inflammatory lesions. Diagnostic and therapeutic problems may arise because of difficulty in isolating a causative organism. The characteristic pigmented macrophages of visceral granulomas can also be found in skin lesions.

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