Mosaic cutaneous

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 13.04.2023

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Cutane mosaics; cutaneous mosaicism; Mosaic dermatoses; Skin mosaics

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In the biological sense, an organism composed of genetically diverse cells that have emerged from a homogeneous zygote is called a mosaic. In contrast, a chimera arises from different cell populations. Cutaneous mosaics can be divided into 2 categories:

  • Epigenetic mosaics: All cells have the same genome. Functionally different cell clones arise due to the influence of certain control genes. These functional mosaics are hereditary.
  • Genetic mosaics: Two or more cell populations have different genomes.

Acquired mosaic dermatoses: Some acquired skin diseases, usually diffusely distributed, may appear "suddenly" (in a phase of exacerbation) along Blaschko lines (in atopic eczema, psoriasis vulgaris, dyskeratosis follicularis, lichen planus, circumskripter scleroderma, and others). The cause is probably a mutated cell clone acting as a "locus minoris resistentiae" in which the underlying disease is realized.

Clinical picture
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Mosaics are particularly easy to identify in the skin, as the different cell systems are often visibly morphologically distinct from each other. Very diverse mosaic patterns can be distinguished in the skin:

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Last updated on: 13.04.2023