Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is an acquired blistering skin disease characterized by the presence of IgG autoantibodies that recognize type VII (anchoring fibril) collagen. In this study, we have mapped the antigenic epitopes within the type VII collagen alpha chain by Western immunoblotting analysis with sera from 19 patients with EBA, using bacterial collagenase- or pepsin-resistant portions of type VII collagen and a panel of 12 recombinant fusion proteins corresponding to approximately 80% of the primary sequence of the alpha 1 (VII) collagen polypeptide. These studies identified four major immunodominant epitopes localized within the amino-terminal, noncollagenous (NC-1) domain. In addition to EBA, sera from three patients with bullous systemic lupus erythematosus (BSLE) were tested. The pattern of epitopes recognized by these sera were similar to those noted with EBA, suggesting that the same epitopes could serve as autoantigens in both blistering conditions. In contrast, sera from healthy controls or from patients with unrelated blistering skin diseases did not react with type VII collagen epitopes. Collectively, the results indicate that the immunodominant epitopes in EBA and BSLE lie within the noncollagenous regions of type VII collagen. The precise role of the circulating autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of these blistering diseases remains to be elucidated. Conceivably, however, such antibodies could disrupt the assembly of type VII collagen into anchoring fibrils and/or interfere with their interactions with other extracellular matrix molecules within the cutaneous basement membrane zone.
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a severe, chronic blistering disease of the skin. EBA patients have circulating and tissue-bound autoantibodies to a large (Mr = 290,000) macromolecule that is localized within the basement membrane zone between the epidermis and dermis of skin, the site of blister formation. The "EBA antigen" is known to be distinct from laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, fibronectin, the bullous pemphigoid antigen, elastin, and collagen types I, II, III, IV, and V. Sera from patients with EBA, two monoclonal antibodies to the EBA antigen, and a monoclonal antibody to the carboxyl terminus of type VII procollagen identically label human amnion and skin by immunofluorescent and immunoelectron microscopy. Western immunoblots of the EBA antigen extracted from skin and of type VII procollagen labeled with the above sera and antibodies are identical. None of the sera or antibodies labels Western blots of pepsinized type VII collagen which is missing the globular amino and carboxyl terminal domains. These data show that the EBA antigen is the carboxyl terminus of type VII procollagen.
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a rare and acquired autoimmune subepidermal bullous disease of the skin and mucosa. EBA includes various distinct clinical manifestations resembling Bullous Pemphigus, Brunsting-Perry pemphigoid, or cicatricial pemphigoid. These patients have autoantibodies against type VII collagen, an integral component of anchoring fibrils, which are responsible for attaching the dermis to the epidermis. Destruction or perturbation of the normally functioning anchoring fibrils clinically results in skin fragility, blisters, erosions, scars, milia and nail loss, all features reminiscent of genetic dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. These anti-type VII collagen antibodies are “pathogenic” because when injected into a mouse, the mouse develops an EBA-like blistering disease. Currently treatment is often unsatisfactory, however some success has been achieved with colchichine, dapsone, photopheresis, plasmaphresis, infliximab, rituximab and IVIG.
EBA is a rare, acquired, chronic subepidermal bullous disease of the skin and mucosa characterized by autoantibodies to type VII collagen structures, a major component of anchoring fibrils, that attach the epidermis onto the dermis. EBA patients have tissue-bound as well as circulating anti-type VII collagen autoantibodies that attack type VII collagen and result in a reduction or perturbation of normally functioning anchoring fibrils. Patients with EBA have skin fragility, blisters, erosions, scars, milia, and nail loss: all features reminiscent of genetic dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. These anti-type VII collagen antibodies are “pathogenic” because when injected into mice, the mice develop an EBA-like blistering disease. In addition to the classical mechanobullous presentation, EBA also has several other distinct clinical syndromes similar to bullous pemphigoid, Brunsting-Perry pemphigoid, or cicatricial pemphigoid. Although treatment for EBA is often unsatisfactory, some therapeutic success has been achieved with colchicine, dapsone, plasmaphoresis, photopheresis, infliximab, and intravenous immunoglobulin.
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a subepidermal blistering disorder associated with tissue-bound and circulating autoantibodies specific to type VII collagen, a major constituent of the dermal-epidermal junction. Previous attempts to transfer the disease by injection of patient autoantibodies into mice have been unsuccessful. To study the pathogenic relevance of antibodies specific to type VII collagen in vivo, we generated and characterized rabbit antibodies specific to a murine form of this antigen and passively transferred them into adult nude, BALB/c, and C57BL/6 mice. Immune rabbit IgG bound to the lamina densa of murine skin and immunoblotted type VII collagen. Mice injected with purified IgG specific to type VII collagen, in contrast to control mice, developed subepidermal skin blisters, reproducing the human disease at the clinical, histological, electron microscopical, and immunopathological levels. Titers of rabbit IgG in the serum of mice correlated with the extent of the disease. F(ab′)2 fragments of rabbit IgG specific to type VII collagen were not pathogenic. When injected into C5-deficient mice, antibodies specific to type VII collagen failed to induce the disease, whereas C5-sufficient mice were susceptible to blister induction. This animal model for EBA should facilitate further dissection of the pathogenesis of this disease and development of new therapeutic strategies.
Autoantibodies in the skin and sera of patients with epidermolysis bullosa acquisita bind to a large matrix molecule within the lamina densa region of skin basement membrane. At the site of these immune complexes, the epidermis separates from the dermis, which creates a subepidermal blister just below the lamina densa. The target molecule for the autoantibodies is in close apposition to fibronectin, a major extracellular matrix molecule that is abundant in the upper dermis of skin. In this report, we show specific affinity between fibronectin and the 290,000-D chain of the epidermolysis bullosa acquisita antigen, and that this affinity is mediated by the gelatin/collagen-binding domain of fibronectin (Mr = 60,000). Since blistering in epidermolysis bullosa acquisita often occurs in the absence of clinical and histological inflammation, a direct interruption in the fibronectin-epidermolysis bullosa acquisita antigen bond may be involved in the pathogenesis of epidermal-dermal disadherence that occurs in this bullous disease.
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of heritable mechano-bullous skin diseases classified into three major categories on the basis of the level of tissue separation within the dermal-epidermal basement membrane zone. In the most severe, dystrophic (scarring) forms of EB, blisters form below the cutaneous basement membrane at the level of the anchoring fibrils, which are composed of type VII collagen. Ultrastructural observations of altered anchoring fibrils and genetic linkage to the type VII collagen locus (COL7A1) have implicated COL7A1 as the candidate gene in the dystrophic forms of EB. We have recently cloned the entire cDNA and the gene for human COL7A1. In this study, we describe distinct mutations in both COL7A1 alleles in three brothers with severe, mutilating recessive dystrophic EB (the Hallopeau-Siemens type, HS-RDEB). The patients are compound heterozygotes for two different mutations, both of which result in a premature termination codon in COL7A1, and the parents were shown to be clinically heterozygous carries of the respective mutations. Premature termination codons in both alleles of COL7A1 appear to be the underlying cause of severe, recessive dystrophic EB in this family.
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a chronic, autoimmune condition involving the skin and mucous membranes. Symptomatic mucosal involvement is rare, but can impact on quality of life, due to esophageal strictures and dysphagia. We report a case involving a 60-year-old male presenting with bullous skin lesions on areas of friction on his hands, feet and mouth. Milia were visible on some healed areas. Biopsy showed a subepidermal vesicle. Direct immunofluorescence showed intense linear junctional IgG and C3 at the dermo-epidermal junction. Serological tests also supported the diagnosis of EBA. Screening tests for underlying malignancies were negative. Despite treatment with systemic steroids, the patient developed increasing dysphagia, requiring further investigation with esophagoscopy and a barium swallow. Confirmation of extensive esophageal stricturing prompted adjustment of medications including an increase in systemic steroids and addition of azathioprine. Currently, the patient's disease remains under control, with improvement in all his symptoms and return of anti-basement membrane antibody levels to normal, whilst he remains on azathioprine 150 mg daily and prednisolone 5 mg daily. This case highlights the fact that the treatment of a given patient with EBA depends on severity of disease and co-morbid symptoms. Newer immunoglobulin and biological therapies have shown promise in treatment resistant disease. Considering that long-term immunosuppressants or biologicals will be required, potential side effects of the drugs should be considered. If further deterioration occurs in this patient, cyclosporin A or intravenous immunoglobulin (IV Ig) will be considered. Vigilance for associated co-morbidities, especially malignancies, should always be maintained.
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita; vesicles; bullae; dysphagia; esophageal strictures; scarring; milia
Current therapeutic strategies for genetic skin disorders rely on the complex process of grafting genetically engineered tissue to recipient wound beds. Because fibroblasts synthesize and secrete extracellular matrix, we explored their utility in recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), a blistering disease due to defective extracellular type VII collagen. Intradermal injection of RDEB fibroblasts overexpressing type VII collagen into intact RDEB skin stably restored correctly localized type VII collagen expression in vivo and normalized hallmark RDEB disease features, including subepidermal blistering and anchoring fibril defects.
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of monogenic disorders in which skin blisters develop in response to minor injury. In this article, Siprashvili and colleagues demonstrate that retrovirally transduced human keratinocytes can be safely transplanted and correct the clinical phenotype observed in a mouse model of EB.
In spite of advances in the molecular diagnosis of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), an inherited blistering disease due to a deficiency of type VII collagen at the basement membrane zone (BMZ) of stratified epithelium, current therapy is limited to supportive palliation. Gene delivery has shown promise in short-term experiments; however, its long-term sustainability through multiple turnover cycles in human tissue has awaited confirmation. To characterize approaches for long-term genetic correction, retroviral vectors were constructed containing long terminal repeat-driven full-length and epitope-tagged COL7A1 cDNA and evaluated for durability of type VII collagen expression and function in RDEB skin tissue regenerated on immune-deficient mice. Type VII collagen expression was maintained for 1 year in vivo, or over 12 epidermal turnover cycles, with no abnormalities in skin morphology or self-renewal. Type VII collagen restoration led to correction of RDEB disease features, including reestablishment of anchoring fibrils at the BMZ. This approach confirms durably corrective and noninjurious gene delivery to long-lived epidermal progenitors and provides the foundation for a human clinical trial of ex vivo gene delivery in RDEB.
Generalised recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a severe inherited disease in which patients suffer from blistering and scarring of the skin and mucous membranes after minor mechanical trauma. Tight genetic linkage has been established to the type VII collagen gene (COL7A1) at 3p21, with no evidence of locus heterogeneity. Several COL7A1 mutations have now been identified in recessive dystrophic EB patients. Prenatal diagnosis has been performed by examination of a fetal skin biopsy taken at about 16 weeks' gestation, and relies on identification of characteristic ultrastructural and immunohistochemical changes. We have now achieved a first trimester prenatal diagnosis using intragenic and flanking COL7A1 markers in a pregnancy at risk for recessive dystrophic EB. Segregation of the informative markers predicted the baby would be an unaffected carrier. The pregnancy continued to term and a healthy baby was born, confirming this result.
Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune blistering disease, in which autoantibodies against PV antigen (PVA or Dsg3) play a pathogenic role in inducing blister formation. Bacterial fusion proteins of PVA failed to absorb pathogenic autoantibodies from PV patients' sera probably because they did not represent the proper conformation. Therefore, a chimeric protein, PVIg, consisting of the whole extracellular domain of PVA and the constant region of human IgG1, was produced in either in COS7 or in insect Sf9 eucaryotic cells. Both PVIg-COS7 and PVIg-Sf9 were recognized by all of the 35 PV sera tested, but not by any of 10 pemphigus foliaceus (PF), 16 Brazilian PF, 10 bullous pemphigoid, or five normal control sera. Incubation of PV patients' sera with PVIg-Sf9 removed heterogeneous autoantibodies and significantly reduced their immunofluorescence titers on normal human epidermis, although PVIg-Sf9 did not affect the titers of PF sera at all. Furthermore, PVIg-Sf9 absorbed pathogenic autoantibodies from patients' sera and prevented gross blister formation in a neonatal mouse model for pemphigus. These results indicate that this baculovirus product has the proper conformation of the authentic PVA and that its conformation is important in pathogenicity of pemphigus.
BACKGROUND: Patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) have deficiencies of collagen type VII and have elevated levels of fibroblast collagenase, and a greatly increased risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with other genetic blistering disorders do not have elevated collagenase or an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, despite chronic wounding. The connection between collagen type VII deficiency, increased collagenase, and squamous cell carcinoma is not understood. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Urine from 81 patients with RDEB (39 patients), junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB; 12 patients), and epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS; 30 patients), as well as unaffected family members of RDEB patients (33 patients), was tested for the presence of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) using a sensitive radioimmunoassay. These patients included many who were enrolled in the Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry and others who were referred by their physicians. RESULTS: Fifty-one percent of patients with RDEB had elevated levels (> 5000 pg/g) of urinary bFGF. In contrast, none of the patients with JEB had elevated levels of bFGF. Twenty-one percent of clinically unaffected family members had elevated levels of bFGF, and 13% of patients with EBS had elevated levels of bFGF. The frequency of elevated bFGF values among all groups was statistically significant (p = 0.002), and the levels of bFGF in RDEB patients were significantly elevated compared with those of other groups (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: We have found that patients with RDEB have elevated levels of bFGF, which may contribute to increased fibroblast collagenase and the development of squamous cell carcinoma. These results suggest a novel treatment for RDEB, namely, angiogenesis inhibitors, which may antagonize the effects of bFGF in this disorder. There are currently no other means of treatment for this disorder, which has a high morbidity and mortality rate.
Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) is a severe skin fragility disorder associated with trauma-induced blistering, progressive soft tissue scarring, and increased risk of skin cancer. DEB is caused by mutations in type VII collagen. In this study, we describe the generation of a collagen VII hypomorphic mouse that serves as an immunocompetent animal model for DEB. These mice expressed collagen VII at about 10% of normal levels, and their phenotype closely resembled characteristics of severe human DEB, including mucocutaneous blistering, nail dystrophy, and mitten deformities of the extremities. The oral blistering experienced by these mice resulted in growth retardation, and repeated blistering led to excessive induction of tissue repair, causing TGF-β1–mediated contractile fibrosis generated by myofibroblasts and pseudosyndactyly in the extremities. Intradermal injection of WT fibroblasts resulted in neodeposition of collagen VII and functional restoration of the dermal-epidermal junction. Treated areas were also resistant to induced frictional stress. In contrast, untreated areas of the same mouse showed dermal-epidermal separation following induced stress. These data demonstrate that fibroblast-based treatment can be used to treat DEB in a mouse model and suggest that this approach may be effective in the development of clinical therapeutic regimens for patients with DEB.
BACKGROUND: Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of heritable diseases that manifest as blistering and erosions of the skin and mucous membranes. In the dystrophic forms of EB (DEB), the diagnostic hallmark is abnormalities in the anchoring fibrils, attachment structures beneath the cutaneous basement membrane zone. The major component of anchoring fibrils is type VII collagen, and DEB has been linked to the type VII collagen gene (COL7A1) at 3p21, with no evidence for locus heterogeneity. Due to life-threatening complications and significant long-term morbidity associated with the severe, mutilating form of recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB), there has been a demand for prenatal diagnosis from families with affected offspring. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Intragenic polymorphisms in COL7A1 and flanking microsatellite markers on chromosome 3p21, as well as detection of pathogenetic mutations in families, were used to perform PCR-based prenatal diagnosis from DNA obtained by chorionic villus sampling at 10-15 weeks or amniocentesis at 12-15 weeks gestation in 10 families at risk for recurrence of RDEB. RESULTS: In nine cases, the fetus was predicted to be normal or a clinically unaffected carrier of a mutation in one allele. These predictions have been validated in nine cases by the birth of a healthy child. In one case, an affected fetus was predicted, and the diagnosis was confirmed by fetal skin biopsy. CONCLUSIONS: DNA-based prenatal diagnosis of RDEB offers an early, expedient method of testing which will largely replace the previously available invasive fetal skin biopsy at 18-20 weeks gestation.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is an incurable, often fatal mucocutaneous blistering disease caused by mutations in COL7A1, the gene encoding type VII collagen (C7). On the basis of preclinical data showing biochemical correction and prolonged survival in col7−/− mice, we hypothesized that allogeneic marrow contains stem cells capable of ameliorating the manifestations of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa in humans.
Between October 2007 and August 2009, we treated seven children who had recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa with immunomyeloablative chemotherapy and allogeneic stem-cell transplantation. We assessed C7 expression by means of immunofluorescence staining and used transmission electron microscopy to visualize anchoring fibrils. We measured chimerism by means of competitive polymerase-chain-reaction assay, and documented blister formation and wound healing with the use of digital photography.
One patient died of cardiomyopathy before transplantation. Of the remaining six patients, one had severe regimen-related cutaneous toxicity, with all having improved wound healing and a reduction in blister formation between 30 and 130 days after transplantation. We observed increased C7 deposition at the dermal–epidermal junction in five of the six recipients, albeit without normalization of anchoring fibrils. Five recipients were alive 130 to 799 days after transplantation; one died at 183 days as a consequence of graft rejection and infection. The six recipients had substantial proportions of donor cells in the skin, and none had detectable anti-C7 antibodies.
Increased C7 deposition and a sustained presence of donor cells were found in the skin of children with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Further studies are needed to assess the long-term risks and benefits of such therapy in patients with this disorder. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00478244.)
Knowledge of the pathophysiology of immunobullous diseases has been advanced by the demonstration that passive transfer of antibodies against skin autoantigens can induce blisters in experimental animals with clinical, histologic, and immunopathologic features similar to those seen in human patients. In this issue of the JCI, Liu et al. extend their earlier observations regarding an experimental murine model of bullous pemphigoid by showing that the plasminogen/plasmin signaling cascade synergizes with MMP-9 during the early phase of antibody-induced blister formation in vivo. In a separate study, Sitaru et al. show for the first time to my knowledge that passive transfer of experimental antibodies against type VII collagen create subepidermal blisters in mice that mimic those seen in patients with epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (see the related article beginning on page 870). While the articles by Liu, Sitaru, and their colleagues identify pathways of inflammation and tissue injury that, if interrupted, may abrogate blister formation, in a third study, Payne et al. utilized phage display technologies to isolate human anti-desmoglein monoclonal antibodies from a patient with pemphigus vulgaris and show that such antibodies have restricted patterns of heavy and light chain gene usage — findings suggesting that autoantibodies may represent an additional target for therapeutic interventions in patients with immunobullous diseases (see the related article beginning on page 888).
Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP) is an autoimmune blistering disease that occurs in association with underlying neoplasms. Patients with PNP develop characteristic IgG autoantibodies directed against multiple antigens, most of which have been identified as cytoplasmic proteins of the plakin family (desmoplakin I, II, BPAG1, envoplakin, and periplakin). This study identified cell surface target antigens of PNP. We focused on desmoglein (Dsg) 3 and Dsg1, the autoantigens of pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. ELISA using baculovirus-expressed recombinant Dsgs (rDsg3, rDsg1) has revealed that 25 out of 25 PNP sera tested were positive against Dsg3 and 16 of 25 were positive against Dsg1. All of 12 PNP sera tested immunoprecipitated Dsg3. Removal of anti-Dsg3 autoantibodies by immunoadsorption was sufficient to eliminate the ability of PNP sera to induce cutaneous blisters in neonatal mice in vivo. Furthermore, anti-Dsg3-specific antibodies that were affinity purified from PNP sera were proven to be pathogenic and caused blisters in neonatal mice. These findings indicate that Dsg3 and Dsg1 are the cell surface target antigens in PNP and that IgG autoantibodies against Dsg3 in PNP sera play a pathogenic role in inducing loss of cell adhesion of keratinocytes and causing blister formation.
Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) are caused by mutations in the COL7A1 gene, which encodes type VII collagen. Even though more than 500 different COL7A1 mutations have been identified in DEB, it still remains to be under-investigated. To investigate the mutation of COL7A1 in moderately severe phenotype of recessive DEB (RDEB) in a Korean patient, the mutation detection strategy was consisted of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of genomic DNA, followed by heteroduplex analysis, nucleotide sequencing of the PCR products demonstrating altered mobility. In this study, we found that one mutation (c.8569G>T) was detected within exon 116. The mutation of c.8569G>T in exon 116 changed the GAG (Glu) to TAG, eventually resulted in premature termination of type VII collagen polypeptide. Furthermore the mother did not have the mutation c.8569G>T in exon 116. The other novel mutation (c.4879G>A) was detected within exon 51 of both patient and mother, thereby resulting in changing valine (Val) to isoleucine (Ile) in type VII collagen polypeptide. Taken together, in this study we identified compound heterozygosity for COL7A1 mutations (c.8569G>T and c.4879G>A) in moderately severe RDEB in a Korean patient. We hope that this data contribute to the expanding database on COL7A1 mutations in DEB.
Epidermolysis Bullosa Dystrophica; COL7A1; Mutation
The dystrophic forms of epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), a group of heritable blistering disorders, show considerable phenotypic variability, and both autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive inheritance can be recognised. DEB is derived from mutations in the type VII collagen gene (COL7A1), encoding a large collagenous protein that is the predominant, if not exclusive, component of the anchoring fibrils at the dermal–epidermal junction.
The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), established in 1996, has analysed more than 1000 families with different forms of epidermolysis bullosa, among them 332 families with DEB. DNA specimens were subjected to mutation analysis by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of all 118 exons and flanking intronic sequences of COL7A1, followed either by heteroduplex scanning and sequencing of the PCR products demonstrating heteroduplexes or by direct nucleotide sequencing.
355 mutant alleles out of the anticipated 438 (81.1%) were disclosed. Among these mutations, a total of 242 mutations were distinct and 138 were novel, previously unreported mutations. No evidence of mutations in any other gene was obtained.
Examination of the mutation database suggested phenotype–genotype correlations, contributing to the improved subclassification of DEB with prognostic implications. The mutation information also forms the basis for accurate genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis in families at risk for recurrence.
Generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa (GABEB) is a form of nonlethal junctional epidermolysis bullosa characterized by universal alopecia and atrophy of the skin. We report a deficiency of the 180-kD bullous pemphigoid antigen in three patients with GABEB from unrelated families. We screened specimens of clinically normal skin from nine junctional epidermolysis bullosa patients (3 GABEB, 4 lethal, 1 cicatricial, 1 pretibial) by immunofluorescence using monoclonal antibodies to the 180-kD and 230-kD bullous pemphigoid antigens (BP180 and BP230). In the skin of the three GABEB patients there was no reactivity with antibodies to BP180, whereas staining for BP230 was normal. In the skin of the other six, non-GABEB patients, included in this study the expression of BP180 and BP230 was normal. Immunoblot analysis of cultured keratinocytes from one of the GABEB patients also failed to detect BP180 antigen, whereas BP230 was present in normal amounts. The deficient expression of BP180 is reflected in the RNA message, as in Northern blot analysis a reduced amount of BP180 transcripts, although of normal length, were detected. Interestingly, in another GABEB patient there were not-involved areas of skin, in which blistering could not be induced by rubbing. Biopsy material from these areas showed interrupted staining for BP180. There was no staining for BP180 in areas of clinically normal but involved skin of this patient. In conclusion, this study reveals that the BP180 antigen is deficient and the BP180 mRNA is reduced in generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa.
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is a cutaneous autoimmune inflammatory disease associated with subepidermal blistering and autoantibodies against BP180, a transmembrane collagen and major component of the hemidesmosome. Numerous inflammatory cells infiltrate the upper dermis in BP. IgG autoantibodies in BP fix complement and target multiple BP180 epitopes that are highly clustered within a non-collagen linker domain, termed NC16A. Anti-BP180 antibodies induce BP in mice. In this study, we generated a humanized mouse strain, in which the murine BP180NC14A is replaced with the homologous human BP180NC16A epitope cluster region. We show that the humanized NC16A (NC16A+/+) mice injected with anti-BP180NC16A autoantibodies develop BP-like subepidermal blisters. The F(ab′)2 fragments of pathogenic IgG fail to activate complement cascade and are no longer pathogenic. The NC16A+/+ mice pretreated with mast cell activation blocker or depleting of complement or neutrophils become resistant to BP. These findings suggest that the humoral response in BP critically depends on innate immune system players.
autoantibodies; basement membrane; humanized animal model; innate immunity; skin
We identified a congenital mechanobullous skin disorder in six calves on a single farm of an endangered German cattle breed in 2010. The condition presented as a large loss of skin distal to the fetlocks and at the mucosa of the muzzle. All affected calves were euthanized on humane grounds due to the severity, extent and progression of the skin and oral lesions. Examination of skin samples under light microscopy revealed detachment of the epidermis from the dermis at the level of the dermo epidermal junction, leading to the diagnosis of a subepidermal bullous dermatosis such as epidermolysis bullosa. The pedigree was consistent with monogenic autosomal recessive inheritance. We localized the causative mutation to an 18 Mb interval on chromosome 22 by homozygosity mapping. The COL7A1 gene encoding collagen type VII alpha 1 is located within this interval and COL7A1 mutations have been shown to cause inherited dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) in humans. A SNP in the bovine COL7A1 exon 49 (c.4756C>T) was perfectly associated with the observed disease. The homozygous mutant T/T genotype was exclusively present in affected calves and their parents were heterozygous C/T confirming the assumed recessive mode of inheritance. All known cases and genotyped carriers were related to a single cow, which is supposed to be the founder animal. The mutant T allele was absent in 63 animals from 24 cattle breeds. The identified mutation causes a premature stop codon which leads to a truncated protein representing a complete loss of COL7A1 function (p.R1586*). We thus have identified a candidate causative mutation for this genetic disease using only three cases to unravel its molecular basis. Selection against this mutation can now be used to eliminate the mutant allele from the Rotes Höhenvieh breed.
Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is an inherited bullous dermatosis caused by the COL7A1 gene mutation in autosomal dominant or recessive mode. COL7A1 gene encodes type VII collagen – the main component of the anchoring fibrils at the dermal–epidermal junction. Besides the 730 mutations reported, we identified two novel COL7A1 gene mutations in a Chinese family, which caused recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB). The diagnosis was established histopathologically and ultrastructurally. After genomic DNA extraction from the peripheral blood sample of all subjects (5 pedigree members and 136 unrelated control individuals), COL7A1 gene screening was performed by polymerase chain reaction amplification and direct DNA sequencing of the whole coding exons and flanking intronic regions. Genetic analysis of the COL7A1 gene in affected individuals revealed compound heterozygotes with identical novel mutations. The maternal mutation is a 2-bp deletion at exon 8 (c.1006_1007delCA), leading to a subsequent reading frame-shift and producing a premature termination codon located 48 amino acids downstream in exon 9 (p.Q336EfsX48), consequently resulting in the truncation of 2561 amino acids downstream. This was only present in two affected brothers, but not in the other unaffected family members. The paternal mutation is a 1-bp deletion occurring at the first base of intron 65 (c.IVS5568+1delG) that deductively changes the strongly conserved GT dinucleotide at the 5′ donor splice site, results in subsequent reading-through into intron 65, and creates a stop codon immediately following the amino acids encoded by exon 65 (GTAA→TAA). This is predicted to produce a truncated protein lacking of 1089 C-terminal amino acids downstream. The latter mutation was found in all family members except one of the two unaffected sisters. Both mutations were observed concurrently only in the two affected brothers. Neither mutation was discovered in 136 unrelated Chinese control individuals. This study reveals novel disease-causing mutations in the COL7A1 gene.
Bullous pemphigoid is an autoimmune blistering skin disease characterized by the presence of circulating autoantibodies which recognize specific proteins of the epidermis and dermoepidermal junction. Diagnosis is based on clinical criteria and laboratory investigations, notably histology, direct and indirect immunofluorescence, and ELISA. This study describes a new immunofluorescence assay for parallel determination of anti-BP180 and anti-BP230 based on recombinant antigenic substrates. The aim of the study was to detect BP180 and BP230 autoantibodies by BIOCHIP technology using both a specially designed recombinant BP180-NC16A protein and cells expressing the BP230-gc antigen fragment. 18 patients with bullous pemphigoid were included in the study. Autoantibodies to BP180 were detected by the BIOCHIP technique in 83.33% of patients with clinical, serological, and immunohistological confirmed bullous pemphigoid while autoantibodies against BP230-gC were detected only in 39% of patients. The detection of anti-BP180-NC16A and anti-BP230-gC by a new biochip-based immunoassay is a suitable alternative to indirect immunofluorescence and ELISA. This method has the advantage of easily discriminating the different autoantibody specificities. The BIOCHIP method is faster, cheaper, and easy to use when compared with the ELISA approach. For this reason, the new method could be used as an initial screening test to identify patients with bullous pemphigoid, and doubtful results could then be confirmed by ELISA.