IgG, IgA and IgE autoantibodies against the ectodomain of BP180 in patients with bullous and cicatricial pemphigoid and linear IgA bullous dermatosis

S Christophoridis, L Büdinger, L Borradori, T Hunziker, H F Merk, M Hertl
British Journal of Dermatology 2000, 143 (2): 349-55

BACKGROUND: Bullous pemphigoid (BP), linear IgA bullous dermatosis (LABD) and cicatricial pemphigoid (CP) are clinically distinct autoimmune bullous skin diseases characterized by autoantibodies against components of the epidermal basement membrane. Like most patients with BP, a significant subgroup of patients with CP has circulating IgG specific for BP180, a transmembraneous protein of hemidesmosomes. Moreover, sera of patients with LABD contain IgA autoantibodies reactive with a 97/120-kDa protein, LABD antigen 1, which is highly homologous to the extracellular portion of BP180.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine whether, in these diseases, autoantibody reactivity to BP180 is restricted to distinct immunoglobulin subtypes.

METHODS: Utilizing a baculovirus-encoded form of the ectodomain of BP180, sera from patients with BP (n = 10), CP (n = 9), LABD (n = 10) and normal human control sera (n = 10) were analysed by immunoblot for IgG, IgA and IgE reactivity against BP180.

RESULTS: All of 10 BP sera displayed IgG, IgA and IgE reactivity with BP180. Six and seven of nine CP sera, respectively, contained IgG and IgA autoantibodies reactive with BP180, but none of nine sera contained BP180-specific IgE. Nine of 10 LABD sera contained IgA, and six of 10 IgG, which was reactive with BP180, but none of 10 sera showed IgE reactivity to BP180.

CONCLUSIONS: The presence of IgG and IgA autoantibody responses to BP180 in patients with three clinically distinct autoimmune bullous diseases indicates that an autoimmune response to the same distinct adhesion protein may lead to different clinical manifestations. It is therefore conceivable that variable epitopes of BP180 are targeted by the different autoantibody isotypes, resulting in the distinct clinical pictures.

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