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Skinmed. 2006 Mar-Apr;5(2):72-9; quiz 80-1.

Skin basement membrane zone: a depository for circulating microbial antigen evoking psoriasis and autoimmunity.

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1
Department of Medicine (Dermatology) and Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN 38104-7514, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Elevated levels of antibody to streptococcal exoenzymes have been found in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Research on the role of streptococcal antigen in psoriasis has been hampered by a potential molecular mimicry between streptococcal epitopes and human epidermal keratin.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

Evidence of microbial product was sought in skin biopsies of psoriasis patients thought clinically to have either streptococcal carrier state or gastrointestinal candidal colonization. A polyclonal antibody to streptococcal-derived exoenzymes unlikely to share antigenic structures with normal human skin, and an anticandidal antibody, were used with linked streptavidin biotin amplification stain.

RESULTS:

The predicted microbial product appeared heavily in lesional epidermis, but unexpectedly also as a thin deposit along the skin basement membrane zone (SBMZ) of apparently unaffected skin. Staining was negative for nonpsoriatic subjects.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings support a direct effect of microbial antigen in psoriasis. They also suggest an important role for SBMZ as a very large adhesive surface in the first step of a process of percutaneous epidermal elimination of foreign antigens and microbial toxins. The many autoimmune phenomena seen so often at the SBMZ are probably a physiologic part of this important immune function. Efforts to enhance the adhesive properties of SBMZ should be exploitable for both diagnostic and therapeutic benefit.

PMID:
16603837
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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