“Molecular Diagnosis in Autoimmune Skin Blistering Conditions”
Abstract: Blister formation in skin and mucous membranes results from a loss of cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesion and is a common outcome of pathological events in a variety of conditions, including autoimmune and genetic diseases, viral and bacterial infections, or injury by physical and chemical factors. Autoantibodies against structural components maintaining cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion induce tissue damage in autoimmune blistering diseases. Detection of these autoantibodies either tissue-bound or circulating in serum is essential to diagnose the autoimmune nature of disease. Various immunofluorescence methods as well as molecular immunoassays, including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting, belong to the modern diagnostic algorithms for these disorders. There is still a considerable need to increase awareness of the rare autoimmune blistering diseases, which often show a severe, chronic-relapsing course, among physicians and the public. This review article describes the immunopathological features of autoimmune bullous diseases and the molecular immunoassays currently available for their diagnosis and monitoring.