Pemphigus herpetiformis: analysis of the autoantibody profile during the disease course with changes in the clinical phenotype

Lebeau, Stéphanie; Müller, Ralf; Masouyé, Isabelle; Hertl, Michael; Borradori, Luca (2010). Pemphigus herpetiformis: analysis of the autoantibody profile during the disease course with changes in the clinical phenotype. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 35(4), pp. 366-372. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2009.03525.x

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Pemphigus herpetiformis (PH) is a rare dapsone-responsive variant of pemphigus, characterized by annular and vesiculopustular cutaneous lesions. Most PH serum samples contain autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg)1, but not Dsg3, and the presence of the latter is almost invariably associated with mucosal involvement, as predicted based on the 'Dsg compensation theory'. We describe a patient with features characteristic of PH with histologically eosinophilic spongiosis who repeatedly tested positive for anti-Dsg3 but not anti-Dsg1 autoantibodies by ELISA. To investigate whether the peculiar clinical phenotype was due to a distinct immunological profile, the patient's serum was tested by ELISA and immunoblotting using recombinant forms of Dsg3. Serum samples were found to have low and high reactivity against the EC1 and the EC4 domains of Dsg3, respectively, whereas the autoantibodies belonged predominantly to the IgG1 and IgG4 subclasses. The overall immunological profile was typical of pemphigus vulgaris. The patient finally developed isolated oral erosions 22 months after initial presentation, without significant changes in the autoantibody profile and of the targeted antigenic sites. Our patient presented features characteristic of PH. Although circulating anti-Dsg3 antibodies were present, the patient had only cutaneous involvement for a long period. Our findings indicate that the proposed Dsg compensation theory cannot always explain the clinical phenotype, changes in which may occur without apparent modification of the autoantibody profile and antibody specificity. Hence, additional factors, such as Fcgamma-dependent neutrophil activation, may critically affect the clinical presentation of pemphigus.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Dermatology

UniBE Contributor:

Borradori, Luca


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






Blackwell Scientific Publications




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2014 12:51

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URI: (FactScience: 193739)

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