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February 1992

Basement Membrane and Fibroblast Aberration in Blisters at the Donor, Graft, and Spontaneously Healed Sites in Patients With Burns

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College of Medicine (Drs Chetty, Boissy, and Nordlund); and the Burns Institute, Cincinnati Unit, Shriners Hospital (Dr Warden).

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(2):181-186. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680120053003

• Background and Design.—  Blisters that developed on spontaneously healed wounds and grafts in 13 patients with burns were analyzed by light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy.

Results.—  Blisters developed on the dermal side of the dermoepidermal junction and occurred more frequently in donor site and healed mesh graft than in split-thickness sheet graft. The four major components of the basement membrane zone (bullous pemphigoid antigen, laminin, type IV collagen, and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita antigen) were reduced in quantity and irregularly deposited at blister sites. Immediately adjacent to the blisters, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita antigen appeared normal in quantity, while laminin, type IV collagen, and bullous pemphigoid antigen levels appeared slightly reduced. Mononuclear infiltrates and autoantibodies were not detected by light microscopy or direct-indirect immunofluorescence, respectively. Ultrastructurally, adjacent dermal fibroblasts demonstrated swollen rough endoplasmic reticulum and vacuolization.

Conclusions.—  We speculate that blister development in patients with burns is related to defective reorganization of the basement membrane zone in association with dermal fibroblast aberration during wound healing.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:181-186)