The human skin organ culture model as an optimal complementary tool for murine pemphigus models

Veronika Hartmann, William V.J. Hariton, Siavash Rahimi, Christoph M. Hammers, Ralf J. Ludwig, Eliane J. Müller, Jennifer E. Hundt*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pemphigus is a severe autoimmune bullous disease of the skin and/or mucous membranes caused by autoantibodies that mainly target the adhesion proteins desmoglein (Dsg) 3 and/or Dsg1. Clinically, pemphigus is characterized by flaccid blistering, leading to severe water and electrolyte loss. Before the introduction of corticosteroid treatment, the disease turned out to be fatal in many cases. Despite recent therapeutic improvements, treatment of pemphigus patients is centred on prolonged systemic immunosuppression and remains challenging. Current drug development for pemphigus has a strong focus on disease-causing B cells and autoantibodies and, more recently, also on modulating autoantibody-induced tissue pathology and keratinocyte signalling. This drug development requires reliable pre-clinical model systems replicating the pathogenesis of the human disease. Among those are neonatal and adult mouse models based on the transfer of Dsg3, Dsg1/3 or Dsg1-specific autoantibodies. To reduce the number of animal experiments, we recently established a standardized human skin organ culture (HSOC) model for pemphigus. This model reproduces the clinical phenotype of autoantibody-induced tissue pathology in pemphigus vulgaris. For induction of blistering, a recombinant single-chain variable fragment (scFv) targeting both Dsg1 and 3 is injected into pieces of human skin (obtained from plastic surgeries). Further characterization of the HSOC model demonstrated that key morphologic, molecular and immunologic features of pemphigus are being replicated. Thus, the pemphigus HSOC model is an excellent alternative to pemphigus animal model systems that are based on the transfer of (auto)antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLaboratory Animals
Volume57
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)381-395
Number of pages15
ISSN0023-6772
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 08.2023

Research Areas and Centers

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

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-32 Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering
  • 205-19 Dermatology
  • 204-05 Immunology

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