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1.  Bullous pemphigoid in infants: characteristics, diagnosis and treatment 
Background
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) in infants is a rare but increasingly reported autoimmune blistering skin disease. Autoantibody reactivity is usually poorly characterized. Current guidelines do not address specific aspects of the infantile form of BP. The objectives of this study are to define clinical and diagnostic characteristics of infantile BP and develop a treatment algorithm.
Methods
Detailed characterization of a current case series of five infants with BP from our departments. Comprehensive analysis of all reported cases (1–12 months) with respect to clinical and laboratory characteristics, treatment and outcome.
Results
In total 81 cases were identified (including our own). The mean age was 4.5 months. Moderately severe and severe disease was seen in 84% of cases. Involvement of hands and feet was present in all cases. Immunofluorescence microscopy was comparable with BP in adults. Where analyzed, the NC16A domain of bullous pemphigoid 180 kDa antigen/collagen XVII (BP180) was identified as the major target antigen. BP180 NC16A ELISA values in our cohort were significantly higher than in a control cohort of 28 newly diagnosed adult patients.
50% of patients were treated with systemic corticosteroids, 20% with a combination of systemic corticosteroids and dapsone or sulfapyridine and 10% with topical corticosteroids alone. 14% of patients needed a combination of multiple immunosuppressants. All but one patient reached remission. Relapses were rare.
Conclusions
Presentation of infantile BP is often severe with blistering of hands and feet present in all cases. Pathogenesis and diagnostic criteria are comparable to adult BP, yet BP180 NC16A ELISA levels seem to be significantly higher in infants. The overall disease outcome is favorable. Based on the results of this study we propose a treatment algorithm for infantile BP.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13023-014-0185-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13023-014-0185-6
PMCID: PMC4302581  PMID: 25491396
Bullous skin disease; Skin blistering; Vaccination
2.  Targeting epidermal lipids for treatment of Mendelian disorders of cornification 
Background
Inherited ichthyoses or Mendelian disorders of cornification (MeDOC) are clinically heterogeneous disorders with high unmet therapeutic needs, which are characterized by skin hyperkeratosis and scaling. Some MeDOC types are associated with defects of the epidermal lipid metabolism, resulting in perturbed barrier permeability and subsequent epidermal hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis and inflammation. An example is the CHILD (congenital hemidysplasia with ichthyosiform nevus and limb defects) syndrome, an X-linked dominant multisystem MeDOC caused by mutations in the NSDHL (NAD(P)H steroid dehydrogenase-like protein) gene, which is involved in the distal cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. The skin manifestations of the CHILD syndrome have been attributed to two major mechanisms: deficiency of cholesterol, probably influencing the proper corneocyte membrane formation, and toxic accumulation of aberrant steroid precursors.
Methods
Here we addressed the efficacy of an ointment containing cholesterol and simvastatin, an agent inhibiting endogenous cholesterol synthesis in a compassionate-use treatment of three patients with CHILD syndrome. To test the specificity of this therapeutic approach, we applied the same topical treatment to two patients with other types of MeDOC with disturbed skin lipid metabolism.
Results
The therapy with simvastatin and cholesterol was highly effective and well-tolerated by the CHILD syndrome patients; only lesions in the body folds represented a therapeutic challenge. No improvement was noted in the patients with other types of MeDOC.
Conclusions
This therapy is inexpensive and accessible to every patient with CHILD syndrome, because both simvastatin and cholesterol are available worldwide. Our data provide initial evidence of the specificity of the therapeutic effect of the simvastatin-cholesterol ointment in CHILD syndrome in comparison to other types of MeDOC.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-9-33
PMCID: PMC3975448  PMID: 24607067
Cholesterol; Mosaicism; Ichthyosis; Simvastatin; CHILD nevus; NSDHL mutations
3.  Laminin 332 in junctional epidermolysis bullosa 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2013;7(1):135-141.
Laminin 332 is an essential component of the dermal-epidermal junction, a highly specialized basement membrane zone that attaches the epidermis to the dermis and thereby provides skin integrity and resistance to external mechanical forces. Mutations in the LAMA3, LAMB3 and LAMC2 genes that encode the three constituent polypeptide chains, α3, β3 and γ2, abrogate or perturb the functions of laminin 332. The phenotypic consequences are diminished dermal-epidermal adhesion and, as clinical symptoms, skin fragility and mechanically induced blistering. The disorder is designated as junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB). This article delineates the signs and symptoms of the different forms of JEB, the mutational spectrum, genotype-phenotype correlations as well as perspectives for future molecular therapies.
doi:10.4161/cam.22418
PMCID: PMC3544777  PMID: 23076207
skin fragility; blistering; hemidesmosome; granulation tissue; basement membrane
4.  Integrin α3 Mutations with Kidney, Lung, and Skin Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(16):1508-1514.
SUMMARY
Integrin α3 is a transmembrane integrin receptor subunit that mediates signals between the cells and their microenvironment. We identified three patients with homozygous mutations in the integrin α3 gene that were associated with disrupted basement-membrane structures and compromised barrier functions in kidney, lung, and skin. The patients had a multiorgan disorder that included congenital nephrotic syndrome, interstitial lung disease, and epidermolysis bullosa. The renal and respiratory features predominated, and the lung involvement accounted for the lethal course of the disease. Although skin fragility was mild, it provided clues to the diagnosis.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1110813
PMCID: PMC3341404  PMID: 22512483
5.  Revertant mosaicism in a human skin fragility disorder results from slipped mispairing and mitotic recombination 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(5):1742-1746.
Spontaneous gene repair, also called revertant mosaicism, has been documented in several genetic disorders involving organs that undergo self-regeneration, including the skin. Genetic reversion may occur through different mechanisms, and in a single individual, the mutation can be repaired in various ways. Here we describe a disseminated pattern of revertant mosaicism observed in 6 patients with Kindler syndrome (KS), a genodermatosis caused by loss of kindlin-1 (encoded by FERMT1) and clinically characterized by patchy skin pigmentation and atrophy. All patients presented duplication mutations (c.456dupA and c.676dupC) in FERMT1, and slipped mispairing in direct nucleotide repeats was identified as the reversion mechanism in all investigated revertant skin spots. The sequence around the mutations demonstrated high propensity to mutations, favoring both microinsertions and microdeletions. Additionally, in some revertant patches, mitotic recombination generated areas with homozygous normal keratinocytes. Restoration of kindlin-1 expression led to clinically and structurally normal skin. Since loss of kindlin-1 severely impairs keratinocyte proliferation, we predict that revertant cells have a selective advantage that allows their clonal expansion and, consequently, the improvement of the skin condition.
doi:10.1172/JCI61976
PMCID: PMC3336993  PMID: 22466645

Results 1-5 (5)