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J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Jul;133(7):1785-93. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.65. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Anti-α-2-macroglobulin-like-1 autoantibodies are detected frequently and may be pathogenic in paraneoplastic pemphigus.

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Department of Dermatology, Kurume University School of Medicine, and Kurume University Institute of Cutaneous Cell Biology, Kurume, Japan.


Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP) shows autoantibodies mainly to plakin and desmosomal cadherin family proteins. We have recently identified alpha-2-macroglobulin-like-1 (A2ML1), a broad range protease inhibitor, as a unique PNP antigen. In this study, we tested a large number of PNP sera by various methods. Forty (69.0%) of 58 PNP sera recognized A2ML1 recombinant protein expressed in COS7 cells by immunofluorescence (IF) and/or immunoprecipitation (IP)/immunoblotting (IB). IP/IB showed higher sensitivity than IF. In addition, 22 (37.9%) PNP sera reacted with A2ML1 by IB of cultured normal human keratinocytes (NHKs) under non-reducing conditions. Statistical analyses using various clinical and immunological data showed that the presence of anti-A2ML1 autoantibodies was associated with early disease onset and absence of ocular lesions. Next, to investigate the pathogenic role of anti-A2ML1 antibody, we performed additional functional studies. Addition of anti-A2ML1 polyclonal antibody to culture media decreased NHK cell adhesion examined by dissociation assay, and increased plasmin activity detected by casein zymography, suggesting that anti-A2ML1 antibody may decrease NHK cell adhesion through plasmin activation by inhibition of A2ML1. This study demonstrates that autoantibodies to A2ML1 are frequently and specifically detected and may have a pathogenic role in PNP.

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