Zinc deficiency may be inherited or acquired. Acrodermatitis enteropathica is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the gene that encodes a zinc transporter. It presents in infancy with the classic triad of diarrhea, dermatitis, and alopecia. Acquired zinc deficiency is due to causes such as alcoholism, malabsorption disorders like cystic fibrosis, inflammatory disease, gastrointestinal surgery, metabolic stress following general surgery, eating disorders, infections, malignancy, or occasionally in pregnancy. Classically, the face, groin, and extremities are affected (often acral), with erythematous, scaly patches. Pustules and bullae may be present. Angular cheilitis is often seen.
Necrolytic migratory erythema, or glucagonoma syndrome, is a very rare syndrome that presents as annular, erythematous patches with blisters that erode on the lower extremities and groin. The condition results from a cancerous tumor in the alpha cells of the pancreas called a glucagonoma, which secretes the hormone glucagon. It is often associated with diabetes and hyperglycemia.
Necrolytic acral erythema resembles acrodermatitis enteropathica and necrolytic migratory erythema clinically, however, it is associated with hepatitis C infection. Lesions are plaques with well defined borders distributed acrally. Treatment of the hepatitis C often improves the dermatitis.
Our patient’s blood work was consistent with nutritional deficiency and revealed low levels of zinc, vitamin A, ceruloplasmin, albumin and prealbumin, total protein, calcium, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Her hemoglobin A1C was under 4. Her hepatitis serologies were negative. The patient received total parenteral nutrition with subsequent complete resolution of her rash.for gastric bypass patients should be performed long term as they are at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
Dr. Bilu Martin, and Andrew Harris, DO, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Aventura, Fla., provided the case and photos.
Dr. Bilu Martin is a board-certified dermatologist in private practice at Premier Dermatology, MD, in Aventura, Fla. More diagnostic cases are available at. To submit a case for possible publication, send an email to .
. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier, 2006.