Diminished expression of the extracellular domain of bullous pemphigoid antigen 2 (BPAG2) in the epidermal basement membrane of patients with generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa

G. Pohla-Gubo, Z. Lazarova, G. J. Giudice, M. Liebert, A. Grassegger, H. Hintner, K. B. Yancey

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46 Scopus citations


Generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa (GABEB) is a nonlethal form of junctional epidermolysis bullosa characterized by generalized skin and mucosal blisters that heal with atrophy; other features include alopecia, nail dystrophy, large melanocytic nevi, and autosomal recessive inheritance. The specific aim of this study was to identify an abnormality in epidermal basement membrane adhesion molecules in well characterized GABEB patients that would explain why these subjects' epidermis separates from their epidermal basement membrane. Cryostat sections of nonlesional skin from 8 GABEB patients in 5 different families as well as skin from normal volunteers (controls) were studied by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy using rabbit antiserum directed against a BPAG1 fusion protein or monoclonal antibodies directed against the extracellular domain of BPAG2 (HD18 and 233), epiligrin (P1E1), laminin 5 (GB3), types IV and VII collagen, or integrin subunits α2, α3, β1, α6, or β4. In these studies, monoclonal antibodies HD18 and 233 showed no reactivity and diminished reactivity, respectively, to the epidermal BM of all GABEB patients. Interestingly, in one patient, the absent or diminished reactivities of monoclonal anti-BPAG2 antibodies were limited to well demarcated portions of an otherwise intact epidermal basement membrane. Moreover, BPAG1, epiligrin, laminin 5, types IV and VII collagen, and all integrin subunits under study were expressed in the same manner in both GABEB and normal human skin. These findings identify an abnormality in the extracellular domain of BPAG2 in the skin of GABEB patients. BPAG2 (type XVII collagen) is a transmembrane, hemidesmosome-associated molecule whose extracellular domain resides at the exact level where blisters develop in the skin of patients with GABEB. Impairment of this adhesion molecule may play a key role in the pathogenesis of this inherited subepidermal bullous disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number4 I
Publication statusPublished - 1995



  • Cell adhesion
  • Hemidesmosomes
  • Junctional epidermolysis bullosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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