Autoimmune subepidermal blistering diseases in Uganda: Correlation of autoantibody class with age of patients

Grace K. Mulyowa, Gerold Jaeger, Jerome Kabakyenga, Eva B. Bröcker, Detlef Zillikens, Enno Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work
28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: No data are available on the incidence and immunoreactivity of autoimmune subepidermal blistering skin diseases in East Africa. Methods: All patients with frank blisters/erosions on the skin and/or mucous membranes that attended the Department of Dermatology at Mbarara University, Uganda, from May 2000 to June 2002, were investigated. The diagnosis was based on the clinical presentation and on the presence of circulating autoantibodies detected by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy on 1 M NaCl-split human skin and by Western blotting of recombinant and cell-derived forms of BP180, BP230, and type VII collagen. Results: Twenty-two patients with autoimmune subepidermal blistering skin disorders were identified, including nine with bullous pemphigoid (41%), four with linear immunoglobulin A (IgA) disease (18%), three with mucous membrane pemphigoid (14%), two with linear IgG/IgA bullous dermatosis (9%), and one each with cicatricial pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (5%). In addition, two patients with immunoreactivity to both the epidermal and dermal side of salt-split skin by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, who were unreactive to type VII collagen, were provisionally diagnosed as "mixed pemphigoid" (9%). In patients with subepidermal blistering diseases, IgG reactivity correlated significantly with old age, whereas younger patients preferentially developed IgA autoantibodies (P = 0.024). Conclusions: The age of patients with autoimmune subepidermal blistering diseases appears to influence the immunoglobulin class of autoantibodies. The high frequency of IgA autoantibodies in Ugandan patients may be explained by the age distribution of the Ugandan population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1047-1052
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 09.2006

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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