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Researchers Identify Immune System Targets Associated With Skin Blistering Disease Pemphigus Vulgaris

Pemphigus vulgaris () is an in which the body’s develops to two of its own proteins, the desmogleins DSG1 and DSG3 that help maintain the integrity of the skin. The immune attack causes painful blisters on the skin and mucus membranes that can lead to infections. Current therapies are geared towards suppressing the entire , but this is problematic as it causes many side effects and leaves the patient vulnerable to infection.

To identify better therapeutic targets, researchers at in Bellinzona, Switzerland, identified the portions of DSG1 and DSG3 that are targeted by antibodies. In the study, published this month in the , Antonio Lanzavecchia and colleagues collected immune cells from PV patients and isolated the antibodies to determine which ones were involved in PV. By studying the antibodies, they were able to identify regions of DSG3 that are the primary target of the immune system. These findings could help with new ways to diagnose and treat PV.

Source

“Pathogenic pemphigus autoantibodies generated through somatic mutations target the desmoglein-3 cis-adhesive interface” Antonio Lanzavecchia, Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, CHE

Journal of Clinical Investigation Sept. 4, 2012