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Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017 Oct 31;7(4):3-8. doi: 10.5826/dpc.0704a02. eCollection 2017 Oct.

Cell junction protein armadillo repeat gene deleted in velo-cardio-facial syndrome is expressed in the skin and colocalizes with autoantibodies of patients affected by a new variant of endemic pemphigus foliaceus in Colombia.

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Georgia Dermatopathology Associates, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Robert P. Apkarian Integrated Electron Microscopy Core, Emory University Medical Center, Atlanta, GA, USA.



We previously described a new variant of endemic pemphigus foliaceus in El Bagre, Colombia, South America (El Bagre-EPF, or pemphigus Abreu-Manu). El Bagre-EPF differs from other types of EPF clinically, epidemiologically, immunologically and in its target antigens. We reported the presence of patient autoantibodies colocalizing with armadillo repeat gene deleted in velo-cardio-facial syndrome (ARVCF), a catenin cell junction protein colocalizing with El Bagre-EPF autoantibodies in the heart and within pilosebaceous units along their neurovascular supply routes. Here we investigate the presence of ARVCF in skin and its possibility as a cutaneous El Bagre-EPF antigen.


We used a case-control study, testing sera of 45 patients and 45 controls via direct and indirect immunofluorescence (DIF/IIF), confocal microscopy, immunoelectron microscopy and immunoblotting for the presence of ARVCF and its relationship with El Bagre-EPF autoantibodies in the skin. We also immunoadsorbed samples with desmoglein 1 (Dsg1) ectodomain (El Bagre-EPF antigen) by incubating with the positive ARVCF samples from DIF and IIF.


ARVCF was expressed in all the samples from the cases and controls. Immunoadsorption with Dsg1 on positive ARVCF immunofluorescence DIF/IIF cases showed that the immune response was present against non-desmoglein 1 antigen(s). Overall, 40/45 patients showed colocalization of their autoantibodies with ARVCF in the epidermis; no controls from the endemic area displayed colocalization.


We demonstrate that ARVCF is expressed in many areas of human skin, and colocalizes with the majority of El Bagre-EPF autoantibodies as a putative antigen.


ARCVF; autoimmunity; cell junctions; endemic pemphigus foliaceus; skin

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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