We report three patients with peculiar nodules of the earlobes that developed a few months after the wearing of pierced-type gold earrings. Biopsy specimens showed dense infiltration of lymphoid cells in the dermis and subcutaneous tissue associated with the formation of lymphoid follicles. The clinical and histologic pictures were similar to those of lymphocytoma cutis. Immunohistologically, the nodular lesions were characterized by the proliferation of T cells, mainly suppressor/cytotoxic T cells, and the presence of histiocytic cells displaying Leu-3a antigens on the surface. Patch tests of aqueous gold compound induced a strong skin reaction. A histologic study of the patch test reaction sites revealed a picture of ordinary allergic contact dermatitis showing that T cells, including both helper and suppressor T cells, invaded the spongiotic epidermis and the papillary dermis. Eosinophils and a few Langerhans cells were also present in the dermal infiltrates. These findings suggest that pierced-type gold earrings induced a long-term dermal response that resulted in producing benign lymphoplasia in the sensitized individuals.
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