Leiner's disease (erythroderma desquamativum): A review and approach to therapy

Swetha Y. Sanghvi, Robert A. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Leiner's disease (LD) is a rare and serious syndrome of infantile erythroderma of severe and progressive generalized seborrheic-like dermatitis, recalcitrant diarrhea, malabsorption and wasting, and recurrent local and systemic infections. The purpose of this study is to provide an updated review on management with a summarized review of available peer-reviewed articles on LD. The mechanisms underlying this disease process remain unclear. The diagnosis includes demonstration of deficient opsonic activity along with the clinical tetrad of erythroderma, persistent gastrointestinal disturbance, superimposed bacterial or candidal infection, and marked wasting. An important correlation between LD and defective yeast and Staphylococcus aureus opsonization has been established. For the familial form of LD, an association of either complement three deficiency or complement five dysfunction has been made. LD should be distinguished from other types of infantile erythroderma, including Omenn syndrome. Treatment includes fluid and nutrition replacement, antibiotics to control infection, and fresh-frozen plasma therapy. The prognosis is unclear; it depends on treatment. LD is a life-threatening condition that requires prompt identification and hospitalization. Affected infants who receive vigorous treatment not only have the prospect of surviving, but also generally lead a normal life after infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14510
JournalDermatologic therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


  • atopic dermatitis
  • eczema
  • erythroderma
  • genetic diseases/genodermatoses
  • immunodeficiency
  • skin signs of systemic disease


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