Blisters and erosions of skin and mucous membranes are key features of the clinically heterogeneous group of autoimmune bullous diseases (AIBDs). These can be divided into pemphigoid diseases with autoantibodies against structural proteins of the dermal-epidermal junction, pemphigus diseases with autoantibodies against desmosomal proteins, and dermatitis herpetiformis with autoantibodies against transglutaminases 1 and 2. A differentiation based only on clinical features is often not sufficient. After researching the literature in PubMed, the current diagnostic tools for AIBDs are summarized. AIBD diagnostics are performed using histology, direct and indirect immunofluorescence, as well as ELISA and immunoblotting. For serological diagnosis, the conventional multistep approach or multivariant assays for the analysis of autoantibodies against several target antigens in parallel can be applied. These allow a precise classification of AIBD and therefore a tailored use of different therapeutic regimens, e.g., for bullous pemphigoid or pemphigus foliaceus/vulgaris, as well as identification of disease entities with a known association with neoplasia. Direct immunofluorescence is still the diagnostic mainstay of AIBDs. However, novel serological assays, such as target-antigen-specific ELISA or indirect immunofluorescence systems using BIOCHIP™ mosaic technology, allow serologic diagnosis in most AIBD patients and the exact classification of the disease entity at the molecular level.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)