Beyond Zoster: Sensory and Immune Changes in Zoster-affected Dermatomes: A Review*
Vincenzo Ruocco, Sonia Sangiuliano, Giampiero Brunetti, Eleonora Ruocco
Neuroepidermal tropism of varicella-zoster virus accounts for cutaneous and nerve lesions following herpes zoster. Skin lesions heal in a few weeks and may or may not leave visible scars. Nerve lesions involve peripheral sensory fibres, sometimes causing permanent damage that results in partial denervation of the affected dermatome. The effects of the nerve injury involve the sensibility function, thus causing neuralgia, itch, allodynia, hypo- or anaesthesia, as well as the immune function that is related to neuropeptide release, thus altering immune control in the affected dermatome. The neuro-immune destabilization in the zoster-infected site paves the way for the onset of many and various immunity-related disorders along the affected dermatome.