Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 270  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Table of Contents 
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-53
Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: Time for the requiem?

18-D/11, Anupama Housing Complex, VIP Road, Kolkata - 700 052, India

Date of Web Publication10-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
Saumya Panda
18-D/11, Anupama Housing Complex, VIP Road, Kolkata - 700 052
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.77553

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Panda S. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: Time for the requiem?. Indian J Dermatol 2011;56:52-3

How to cite this URL:
Panda S. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: Time for the requiem?. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Sep 28];56:52-3. Available from:

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), previously known as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD), has had a checkered career. The index case was identified in 1997 by the group led by Shawn Cowper at Yale University. The entity was first described in 2000. [1] In 2001, the disease was formally named NFD. [2] Subsequent published case reports pointed towards systemic nature of the disease. In order to reflect this conceptual change, the nomenclature was changed to NSF. [3]

It was postulated, even before finding any incriminating factor, that NSF could be related to an agent not existing before 1997. [4] In 2006, gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) were suggested as the etiological link, when Grobner reported that five out of nine patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) developed cutaneous changes of NSF 2 to 4 weeks after exposure to these agents. [5] From then on, warnings and regulatory actions have been put in place, whereby renal function screening for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) patients and using less or no GBCA when the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is estimated to be less than 30 mL/min have become the norm. Since these new GBCA policies have come in force, NSF has nearly completely disappeared. As per the literature and the registry of the Yale-based International Center for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Research (ICNSFR), that is the global repository of the biopsy-confirmed NSF cases (a little over 400 cases, both sources taken together), within the last 3 years, almost no new cases with symptom onset have been reported .

In India, the index case was found by us in 2004 from Kolkata. [6] It was an entirely fortuitous discovery as we stumbled upon the case while being engaged in a study on perforating dermatoses in patients with renal compromise. The credit for the histopathological diagnosis rests on Debabrata Bandyopadhyay. It was all the more remarkable because almost all the reports of NFD at that time were restricted to the US and Europe. We embarked on a formal study soon afterwards and reported a series that remains the largest one on this entity (n= 6) outside the western world. [7] Our report went a long way in dispelling notions that the condition has had geographical and racial predilections, a finding that was buttressed by quite a few case reports from different parts of the world, notably from Asia. We could add another case to our total [8] before the study had to be wound up, thanks to lack of infrastructural and logistic support. It is to be noted that since almost our entire study was conducted before the publication of the path-breaking study by Grobner, [5] we did not get to formally investigate the role of GBCA. Subsequently, a couple of cases have been reported from different parts of India, one of which provides a clear-cut evidence of the role of a GBCA (Omniscan), [9] while the other gives a negative history of such exposure. [10]

Judging from the epidemiological fallout of GBCA regulation on NSF, it seems that the disease has indeed reached its denouement. The uncertainties prevailing even 3 years back, when one could question the exact role of gadolinium in the jigsaw puzzle - whether it was really the pathogenic trigger or just an innocent bystander - seem passι. [11] The proof of the pudding has been in the eating. The disease has vanished, well, almost, with the stringent regulation of GBCAs; and, with its passing, we could rejoice.

I thank all the authors for their precious contributions for this symposium, the mood of which is distinctly celebratory, befitting the obituary of a dreaded condition that has hardly any effective cure barring prevention. The articles are testimony to the different vantage points of the authors: While Prasanta Basak and Stephen Jesmajian focus on the current concepts from the viewpoint of the internists, Rajesh Waikhom and Abhijit Taraphder review the condition from the nephrologic perspective. Zhitong Zou and Lin Ma have comprehensively reviewed all the biopsy-proven cases published hitherto and have given the radiological insight on minimizing NSF risk when performing GBCA-enhanced MRI or MR angiography.

It has been a great honour to be the Guest Editor of this Symposium and I am thankful to Dr Sandipan Dhar, the Editor, and the Editorial Board of the journal for this privilege. We sincerely hope that these contributions will be a valuable addition to NSF literature and that this symposium will be another landmark for the Indian Journal of Dermatology.

   References Top

1.Cowper SE, Robin HS, Steinberg SM, Su LD, Gupta S, LeBoit PE. Scleromyxoedema-like cutaneous diseases in renal-dialysis patients. Lancet 2000;356:1000-1.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Cowper SE, Su LD, Bhawan J, Robin HS, LeBoit PE. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy. Am J Dermatopathol 2001;23:383-93.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Cowper SE, Bucala R, Leboit PE. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy/ nephrogenic systemic fibrosis-setting the record straight. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2006;35:208-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Swartz RD, Crofford LJ, Phan SH, Ike RW, Su LD. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy: A novel cutaneous fibrosing disorder in patients with renal failure. Am J Med 2003;114:563-72.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Grobner T. Gadolinium: A specific trigger for the development of nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis? Nephrol Dial Transplant 2006;21:1104-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Panda S, Bandyapadhyay D, Tarafder A. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy. In: Book of Abstracts, Dermacon 2005, 33 rd Annual National Conference of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) and 4 th South Asian Regional Conference of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (SARCD): New Delhi; February 3-6, 2005.   Back to cited text no. 6
7.Panda S, Bandyopadhyay D, Tarafder A. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy: A series in a non-Western population. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;54:155-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Panda S, Bandyopadhyay D, Taraphder A. [FC 20·8] Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy: Highlights from a series in the non-Western population [Abstract EADV 06 L1_1113: Contact View]. In: 15 th Congress of the European Academy of Dematology and Venereology, October 4-8, 2006, Rhodes-Greece, Abstracts2View [CD-ROM].   Back to cited text no. 8
9.Reddy IS, Somani VK, Swarnalata G, Maitra S. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis following hair-dye ingestion induced acute renal failure. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2010;76:400-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
10.Ragunatha S, Palit A, Inamadar AC, Madraki RM, Yelikar BR. Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2009;75:63-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
11.Panda S. Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis/nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy: A decade-old disease. Indian J Dermatol 2007;52:125-30.  Back to cited text no. 11
  Medknow Journal  


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (281 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  


 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded87    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal