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December 1994

Antiepiligrin Cicatricial PemphigoidA Subepithelial Bullous Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md (Drs Domloge-Hultsch, Lazarova, and Yancey); Departments of Dermatology (Dr Anhalt) and Ophthalmology (Dr Jabs), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md; Department of Dermatology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Drs Gammon and Briggaman); Dermatology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC (Dr Welch); and Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado, Denver (Dr Huff). Drs Yancey and Lazarova are now with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(12):1521-1529. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690120057008

Background:  Epiligrin is a glycoprotein complex deposited in extracellular matrix by cultured human keratinocytes that serves as the major integrin ligand of these cells. In human skin, epiligrin is found at the interface of the lamina lucida and lamina densa in epidermal basement membrane where it is believed to be associated with anchoring filaments and plays an important role in keratinocyte adhesion.

Methods and Results:  We have identified six patients with a subepithelial bullous disorder of mucous membranes and skin who have IgG anti-basement membrane autoantibodies that immunoprecipitate epiligrin from human keratinocyte extracts and culture media. These patients' IgG autoantibodies also bind epiligrin in human keratinocyte extracellular matrix and epidermal basement membrane as determined by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. Studies of 10 patients who are clinically indistinguishable from subjects with antiepiligrin autoantibodies (ie, cicatricial pemphigoid pa- tients) found that while seven had anti-basement membrane autoantibodies, the latter are directed exclusively against a region of epidermal basement membrane that does not contain epiligrin, are present in low titer (ie, ≤1:10), do not react with keratinocyte extracellular matrix, and do not bind epiligrin (or any other specific antigen) in immunoprecipitation studies of human keratinocyte extracts or media. Antiepiligrin autoantibodies were also not detected in studies of 36 additional patients with bullous diseases or six normal volunteers.

Conclusions:  Cicatricial pemphigoid is a disease phenotype in which patients' autoantibodies may target different constituents of epidermal basement membrane. Antiepiligrin autoantibodies are a specific immunologic marker for a group of patients with a disease entity that we propose to designate antiepiligrin cicatricial pemphigoid.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:1521-1529)