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J Invest Dermatol. 1992 Feb;98(2):191-7.

Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa phenotype is preserved in xenografts using SCID mice: development of an experimental in vivo model.

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Department of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a subgroup of hereditary blistering diseases characterized by repetitive wounding and healing with subsequent extensive scarring. The purpose of this study was to establish a xenograft model that retains the RDEB phenotype and thus might be used as an experimental in vivo model to explore the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of the chronically wounded phenotype of RDEB. Full-thickness, tumor-free RDEB skin tissues were grafted onto the dorsum of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. At 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks after grafting, the xenografts were removed for examination. Immunofluorescence studies were performed using species-specific antibodies to human class I antigen, mouse class I antigen, human type IV and VII collagens and with cross-reacting antibody against bullous pemphigoid antigen (BPA). Staining with the antibody to human class I antigen, W6/32, and with the antibody to mouse class I antigen, 20.8.4s, confirmed the species-specific results obtained with the type IV and type VII collagen and laminin antibodies. The RDEB grafts showed essentially no staining with the type VII collagen antibody. Antibodies against laminin and BPA showed normal staining patterns in RDEB grafts. There was an overall paucity of anchoring fibrils in the grafts when examined with electron microscopy. Blisters could be induced in these grafts with minor trauma and showed a sublamina densa separation by immunomapping and electron microscopy. As late as 24 weeks post-transplantation, the RDEB grafts remain human, are not significantly replaced by mouse cells, and retain the RDEB disease phenotype.

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