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Br J Dermatol. 1997 Dec;137(6):898-906.

Recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex associated with plectin mutations: infantile respiratory complications in two unrelated cases.

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Department of Cell Pathology, St John's Institute of Dermatology (UMDS), St Thomas' Hospital, London, U.K.


Plectin is a 500 kDa protein involved in cytoskeleton-plasma membrane attachment with a wide tissue distribution including cutaneous and airway epithelia, muscle and neuronal tissue. Recently, mutations in the gene encoding plectin (PLEC1) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of an autosomal recessive variant of epidermolysis bullosa simplex in which cutaneous blistering starting in the neonatal period is associated with muscular dystrophy in later life. In this study, we report two unrelated patients, both of consanguineous parentage, who presented with cutaneous blistering and a hoarse cry from birth. Both experienced inspiratory stridor and respiratory distress, necessitating emergency tracheostomy in one case. Immunoreactivity to monoclonal antibodies against plectin was absent or markedly reduced in skin biopsies from both patients. Electron microscopy revealed a low intraepidermal plane of cleavage and hypoplastic hemidesmosomes with a reduced association with keratin intermediate filaments. Direct sequencing of PLEC1 in each case demonstrated two novel homozygous frameshift deletion mutations, 5069del19 and 5905del2, which both create downstream premature termination codons. Although currently neither patient has symptoms of muscle disease, the identification of mutations in PLEC1 may be predictive for the future development of muscular dystrophy. Recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex resulting from abnormalities in plectin should be considered in the differential diagnosis blistering, hoarseness and stridor in infancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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