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J Clin Invest. 1995 Mar;95(3):1345-52.

180-kD bullous pemphigoid antigen (BP180) is deficient in generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa (GABEB) is a form of nonlethal junctional epidermolysis bullosa characterized by universal alopecia and atrophy of the skin. We report a deficiency of the 180-kD bullous pemphigoid antigen in three patients with GABEB from unrelated families. We screened specimens of clinically normal skin from nine junctional epidermolysis bullosa patients (3 GABEB, 4 lethal, 1 cicatricial, 1 pretibial) by immunofluorescence using monoclonal antibodies to the 180-kD and 230-kD bullous pemphigoid antigens (BP180 and BP230). In the skin of the three GABEB patients there was no reactivity with antibodies to BP180, whereas staining for BP230 was normal. In the skin of the other six, non-GABEB patients, included in this study the expression of BP180 and BP230 was normal. Immunoblot analysis of cultured keratinocytes from one of the GABEB patients also failed to detect BP180 antigen, whereas BP230 was present in normal amounts. The deficient expression of BP180 is reflected in the RNA message, as in Northern blot analysis a reduced amount of BP180 transcripts, although of normal length, were detected. Interestingly, in another GABEB patient there were not-involved areas of skin, in which blistering could not be induced by rubbing. Biopsy material from these areas showed interrupted staining for BP180. There was no staining for BP180 in areas of clinically normal but involved skin of this patient. In conclusion, this study reveals that the BP180 antigen is deficient and the BP180 mRNA is reduced in generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa.

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