Pathology of Pemphigoid Gestationis (Herpes Gestationis)

Dr Sampurna Roy MD            

Dermatopathology Quiz Case 198

Diagnosis: Pemphigoid Gestationis




The name Herpes gestationis ( gestational pemphigoid ) was coined by Milton in 1872.

Pemphigoid Gestationis is a rare autoimmune blistering skin disorder that almost exclusively presents during pregnancy (usually in the second and third trimester of pregnancy).

It has been estimated to occur in 1:50,000 pregnancies [Shornick et al. In: J Am Acad Dermatol 8:214-224, 1983].

It is characterized by pruritic, urticarial plaques with the development of tense vesicles and bullae within the lesions.

Pemphigoid gestationis has been associated with premature delivery, small-for-gestational-age infants.

In some cases it is associated with hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma.

Clinically, the lesion is initially located in the periumbilical region as plaques and papules and then the lesion gradually becomes vesiculobullous in nature and spreads to involve the trunk and extremities.

Microscopic features: Dermatopathology Quiz Case 198

- The subepidermal vesiculobullous lesions contain lymphocytes, eosinophils and histiocytes.

- There is prominent edema of the papillary dermis.

- Mild inflammatory infiltrate is noted in the superficial and mid dermis.

- The inflammatory infiltrate may form small microabcess in the dermal papilla.

Direct immunofluorescence (DIF) shows linear C3 deposition and sometimes IgG.


Further reading:

Gestational pemphigoid

Pemphigoid gestationis.

Pemphigoid gestationis: a case report and review of the literature.

Pemphigoid gestationis: a review




Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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