Blaschko lines

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 27.07.2021

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Line system of the skin first described by Blaschko, followed by certain congenital skin anomalies (e.g. systematized epidermal nevi, ILVEN, nevoid hypertrichosis , incontinentia pigmenti, Bloch-Sulzberger type, Goltz-Gorlin syndrome).

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A distinction is made between 2 types of Blaschko lines:

General information
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The lines are similar to the dermatome borders, but differ from them in that they rise steeply on the back and descend in an arc, and form S-shaped figures on the belly and flanks. On the arms and legs they run in a vertical direction. At the head and neck they form a complicated system, where the lines can cross each other.

Blaschko lines correspond to the path of embryonic cells as they grow outward from the dorsal midline toward the ventral.

In the case of somatic mutations(cutaneous mosaic), the spread of the affected cell clone is visualized by the corresponding linear hamartoma (nevus).

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  1. Cambiaghi S (2000) Clinical findings in mosaic carriers of hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Arch Dermatol 136: 217-224
  2. Happle R (1977) Genetic significance of the Blaschko lines. Z Hautkr 52: 935-944
  3. Lipsker D (2000) Genetic mosaicism in an acquired inflammatory dermatosis following the lines of Blaschko. Arch Dermatol 136: 805-807
  4. Lotfi M et al (2001) Off-center fold: linear atrophy, telangiectases, and soft nodules along the lines of Blaschko with skeletal abnormalities. Arch Dermatol 137: 1095-1100


Last updated on: 27.07.2021