Spongiosis: A Short Review

Hanan Rabea Nada*

Spongiosis: A Short Review.

Spongiosis is a process in which intercellular edema between the squamous cells
of the epidermis causes an increase in the width of the spaces between them,
separating the malphigian cells with stretching and eventually rupture of the intercellular prickles,
and accentuation of honeycombed morphology of the upper epidermal layers appears accentuated,
resulting in a sponge like appearance of the tissue.

Another feature frequently observed is vesicle formation, which—either focal or
widespread in extent—is seen on reflectance confocal microscopy as well-demarcated
that appear as dark hollow spaces between granular and spinous keratinocytes.

Often small round, weakly refractile cells may be seen in the center of vesicles and microvesicles,
these may correspond to apoptotic KCs or inflammatory cells.

Inflammatory cells may also be observed to various extents in perifollicular,
perivascular or interstitial dermal distribution.

Spongiosis is a characteristic histopathologic appearance in eczematous dermatitis.
It entails condensation of KCs with widening of the intercellular spaces, IC edema and distention of
the remaining IC contacts which give the epidermis a ʻsponge-likeʼ appearance.

The two reasonable possibilities for the source of accumulated fluid in the intercellular space: from the epidermal cells or from the dermal fluids which arise, in turn, from the vessels.

The epidermal cells alone cannot account for all the fluid, which is obvious in that an extremely
spongiotic epidermis, a blister of contact dermatitis often assumes a greater volume than
the initial epidermis. Spongiosis: A Short Review.

Dermatol Open J. 2017; 2(2): 36-40. doi: 10.17140/DRMTOJ-2-126