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Characterization and evolution of dermal filaments from patients with Morgellons disease

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S39017

Keywords: Morgellons disease, digital dermatitis, Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, spirochetes, keratin, keratinocytes, collagen, fibroblasts

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racterization and evolution of dermal filaments from patients with Morgellons disease Original Research (6113) Total Article Views Authors: Middelveen MJ, Mayne PJ, Kahn DG, Stricker RB Video abstract presented by Raphael B Stricker Views: 1031 Published Date January 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 1 - 21 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S39017 Received: 10 October 2012 Accepted: 28 November 2012 Published: 08 January 2013 Marianne J Middelveen,1 Peter J Mayne,1 Douglas G Kahn,2 Raphael B Stricker1 1International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, MD, USA; 2Department of Pathology, Olive View–UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar, CA, USA Abstract: Morgellons disease is an emerging skin disease characterized by formation of dermal filaments associated with multisystemic symptoms and tick-borne illness. Some clinicians hypothesize that these often colorful dermal filaments are textile fibers, either self-implanted by patients or accidentally adhering to lesions, and conclude that patients with this disease have delusions of infestation. We present histological observations and electron microscopic imaging from representative Morgellons disease samples revealing that dermal filaments in these cases are keratin and collagen in composition and result from proliferation and activation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in the epidermis. Spirochetes were detected in the dermatological specimens from our study patients, providing evidence that Morgellons disease is associated with an infectious process.

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