Observations on the Wrinkled Skin Caused by this Virus
A finely wrinkled skin appearance, reminiscent of crêpe paper, manifests in many people who catch the virus described on this website, after a year or so with the virus. The fine wrinkles induced by this virus look very similar to the wrinkles that appear in the skin disease known as mid-dermal elastolysis (MDE). However, mid-dermal elastolysis is not considered a contagious condition, whereas this virally-induced wrinkled skin condition certainly is contagious; it can manifest within 12 months of catching this respiratory virus.
Generally, the wrinkly skin caused by this virus is only noticeable in people older than 30 or thereabouts. Even for people aged around 30 to 60 say, the wrinkling induced by this virus is a slight and subtle symptom. However, most people will tend to notice these fine wrinkles when they occur, because they arise quickly within a year of catching this virus, and so their appearance is relatively fast and sudden (compared to aging wrinkles that appear more slowly over the decades).
Note that the type of crêpe paper-like fine wrinkles caused by this virus are distinct from normal aging wrinkles. Normal aging wrinkles tend to have deeper and wider furrows, which are relatively widely spaced; whereas the wrinkles induced by this virus are very fine, shallow in depth and closely spaced, like the fine grooves on crêpe paper.
This virally-induced fine wrinkling appears most severely in people older than about 60, and in these cases, the wrinkling is more obvious to see. Also in these people over 60, the wrinkles are accompanied by a sagging of the skin.
Five images of the skin wrinkles found in mid-dermal elastolysis patients are given below. Pictures 1 and 2 below look very much like the skin wrinkling induced by this virus in people like myself, aged 30 to 60. Only the more elderly people with this virus, those around 60 and older, get the more severe wrinkles as well as loose, sagging skin, similar to that shown in pictures 3, 4 and 5 below.
The fact that the skin wrinkles caused by this viral infection are comparable to the wrinkles found in mid-dermal elastolysis suggests that similar mechanisms may cause both. So in the next section, we take a brief look at the mechanisms behind MDE.
Notes on Mid-Dermal Elastolysis
Mid-dermal elastolysis is a very rare disorder of the connective tissue, characterized by fine wrinkling of the skin (most often of the trunk and arms), the fine wrinkling due to a loss of elastic fibers in the mid-dermis layer of the skin. Elastic fibers consist of an elastin core surrounded by microfibrils.
The cause of mid-dermal elastolysis is unknown, although it is believed MDE may be linked to macrophage activation, and/or ultraviolet light exposure.
The mechanism for loss of the elastic fibers in the mid-dermis seems to be related to high levels of the enzyme elastase, and/or high levels of the enzyme MMP-9, the latter being over-expressed in damaged fibroblast-like cells in the skin. Both of these enzymes can degrade and dissolve the elastin which makes up the elastic fibers in the mid-dermis layer of the skin, thus leading to skin damage and a wrinkled appearance.
Mid-dermal elastolysis appears to have some autoimmunity features: positive antinuclear antibody titers and false-positive Lyme titers have been detected in MDE. Mid-dermal elastolysis is associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Mid-Dermal Elastolysis — Wrinkled Skin Images
The following images are from patients with mid-dermal elastolysis (not from people with my virus).
Wrinkles on Top of My Hand
Here are a few more pictures of the fine, crêpe paper-like wrinkles that appeared on the top of my hand about 12 to 18 months after first catching this virus catching this virus in 2003. Click on the images to enlarge.