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Front Med (Lausanne). 2018 Nov 2;5:296. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00296. eCollection 2018.

Diagnosis of Autoimmune Blistering Diseases.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.


Autoimmune skin blistering diseases (AIBD) are characterized by autoantibodies that are directed against structural proteins in the skin and adjacent mucous membranes. Some clinical signs are typical for a specific AIBD, however, correct diagnosis requires the detection of tissue-bound or circulating autoantibodies. The gold standard for diagnosis of AIBD is the detection of autoantibodies or complement component 3 by direct immunofluorescence (DIF) microscopy of a perilesional biopsy. Circulating antibodies can be detected via indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) microscopy of different tissue substrates including human skin, monkey esophagus, and more recently, recombinant forms of the different target antigens. Latter are also employed in various commercial ELISA systems and by immunoblotting in in-house assays available in specialized laboratories. ELISA systems are also particularly valuable for monitoring of the disease activity during the disease course which can be helpful for treatment decisions. Exact diagnosis is essential for both treatment and prognosis, since some AIBD are associated with malign tumors such as paraneoplastic pemphigus and anti-laminin 332 mucous membrane pemphigoid. This review presents clinical and immunopathological features of AIBD for the state-of the art diagnosis of these disorders.


ELISA; autoantibody; biochip; dermatitis herpetiformis; epidermolysis bullosa acquisita; immunofluorescence; pemphigoid; pemphigus

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