Evidence for a role of extracellular heat shock protein 70 in epidermolysis bullosa acquisita

Stefan Tukaj*, Jagoda Mantej, Krzysztof Sitko, Marta Bednarek, Detlef Zillikens, Ralf J. Ludwig, Katja Bieber, Michael Kasperkiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work


Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and Hsp70 are chaperones implicated in different inflammatory disorders, given their property to impact innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we determined the so far unknown role of extracellular Hsp70 in epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA), an anti-type VII collagen autoantibody-mediated blistering dermatosis. The in vivo pathophysiological relevance of extracellular Hsp70 was demonstrated in an anti-type VII collagen antibody transfer-induced EBA mouse model in which elevated blood levels of this chaperone were recorded. We found that Hsp70-treated mice had a more intense clinical disease severity compared to controls that were paralleled by increased levels of cutaneous matrix metalloproteinase 9 and plasma hydrogen peroxide. The latter finding was confirmed in an independent reactive oxygen species release assay using EBA-specific immune complexes combined with recombinant Hsp70. Finally, cell culture experiments using human naive peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) revealed that extracellular Hsp70 stimulated the secretion of the T cell–derived pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8. This work extends knowledge about the role of Hsps in autoimmune bullous diseases, suggesting that extracellular Hsp70 represents a pathophysiological factor and potential treatment target in EBA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Publication statusPublished - 04.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
  • Centers: Center for Research on Inflammation of the Skin (CRIS)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 204-05 Immunology
  • 205-19 Dermatology


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