Autoimmune bullous diseases (AIBDs) are skin disorders which are mainly induced by autoantibodies against desmosomal or hemidesmosomal structural proteins. Previous studies using patients’ samples and animal disease models identified target antigens and elucidated the mechanisms of blister formation. Pemphigus has been the subject of more active clinical and basic research than any other AIBD. These efforts have revealed the pathogenesis of pemphigus, which in turn has led to optimal diagnostic methods and novel therapies, such as rituximab. In bullous pemphigoid (BP), studies with passive-transfer mouse models using rabbit anti-mouse BP180 antibodies and studies with passive-transfer or active mouse models using autoantigen-humanized mice elucidated the immune reactions to BP180 in vivo. Recently, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors have attracted attention as a trigger for BP. For epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA), investigations using mouse models are actively under way and several molecules have been identified as targets for novel therapies. In this review, we give an overview and discussion of the recent progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of pemphigus, BP, and EBA. Further studies on the breakdown of self-tolerance and on the identification of key molecules that are relevant to blister formation may expand our understanding of the etiology of AIBDs and lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
- Centers: Center for Research on Inflammation of the Skin (CRIS)