logo Connective tissue diseases

Systemic dermatology

Connective tissue diseases


  • Recognise cutaneous connective tissue diseases.


The so-called connective tissue diseases are the result of environmental stimuli (such as drugs, infection or exposure to ultraviolet radiation) in genetically predisposed individuals. They are associated with a range of circulating autoantibodies.

Lupus erythematosus

Localised discoid LE

Severe discoid LE without systemic features

Subacute cutaneous LE

Butterfly rash in SLE

Discoid lupus in patient with SLE

Lupus chilblains (SLE)

© R Suhonen

Low power view shows dense perivascular and periadnexal inflammatory infiltrate

Medium-powered view shows interface changes and lymphocytic infiltrate

High-power view of vacuolar degeneration of basal layer

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Investigations should include:


Scleroderma (tight skin) is seen in the following conditions:


Linear morphoea

© R Suhonen

En coup de sabre

Severe systemic sclerosis

CRST syndrome

Calcinosis cutis

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)


Heliotrope rash

Gottron’s papules

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid nodules

Rheumatoid nodules

Palmar erythema

Ragged cuticles

Rheumatoid neutrophilic dermatosis

Rheumatic fever