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Pemphigus foliaceus is an autoimmune blistering disease of the skin with characteristic lesions that are scaly, crusted erosions, often on an erythematous base. Mucosal involvement is absent even with widespread disease.
If there is an autoimmune IgG buildup in the epidermis, then nearly all of the antibodies are aimed against desmoglein 1. The effect of the antibodies and the immunological pathway is most likely either of three mechanisms:
- Steric hindrance of the desmoglein 1: The antibody caps off the site for intracellular binding to another keratinocyte.
- Activation of an endocytic pathway: The antibody activates a pathway which causes an internalization of desmogleïn 1, which in turn causes a loss of adhesion.
- Disruption of function: In this case, the antibody blocks the desmoglein 1 from being formed into a desmosome. This in turn causes a loss of adhesion with acantholysis as a result.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases describes it like this:
Normally, our immune system produces antibodies that attack viruses and harmful bacteria to keep us healthy. In people with pemphigus, however, the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the epidermis, or top layer of the skin, and the mucous membranes. The immune system produces antibodies against proteins in the skin known as desmogleins. These proteins form the glue that keeps skin cells attached and the skin intact. When desmogleins are attacked, skin cells separate from each other and fluid can collect between the layers of skin, forming blisters that do not heal. In some cases, these blisters can cover a large area of skin.
- Freedberg, et al. (2003). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. (6th ed.). Page 558-562. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-138076-0.
- Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0.
- Freedberg, et al. (2003). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. (6th ed.). Page 558. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0071380760.
- NIH Publication No. 15–7083 (June 2015). "Questions and Answers about Pemphigus". National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. NIH. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- Medscape Reference
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