To investigate the integrity of sympathetic innervation in the hypomelanotic macules of tuberous sclerosis complex, we studied sudomotor function in nine patients with tuberous sclerosis complex. Postganglionic sudomotor function was assessed using the Silastic imprint test in nine patients with tuberous sclerosis complex who have at least one hypomelanotic macule greater than 2 cm in diameter. Sweating was induced by iontophoresis with 0.5% pilocarpine nitrate and sweat droplets were counted under a microscope using a 1 x 1 cm grid. Silastic imprint testing of an analogous skin area contralateral to the hypomelanotic macule was measured as a control. Sweat volume quantitation using sweat collectors was performed in five of the subjects. The sweat volume collected from the hypomelanotic macule was reduced compared to the control skin in four of the five subjects. Sweat droplet counts from the hypomelanotic macule were significantly reduced in only one of nine subjects. These data suggest that, although there is no difference in the number of functioning sweat glands in most hypomelanotic macules, the sweat glands produce less sweat (ie, decreased sweat volume) than in normal skin. We hypothesize that focal abnormalities of sympathetic innervation might be responsible for the hypomelanotic macules of tuberous sclerosis complex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology