Various antigen-specific immunoassays are available for the serological diagnosis of autoimmune bullous diseases. However, a spectrum of different tissue-based and monovalent antigen-specific assays is required to establish the diagnosis. BIOCHIP mosaics consisting of different antigen substrates allow polyvalent immunofluorescence (IF) tests and provide antibody profiles in a single incubation.
Slides for indirect IF were prepared, containing BIOCHIPS with the following test substrates in each reaction field: monkey esophagus, primate salt-split skin, antigen dots of tetrameric BP180-NC16A as well as desmoglein 1-, desmoglein 3-, and BP230gC-expressing human HEK293 cells. This BIOCHIP mosaic was probed using a large panel of sera from patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV, n equals 65), pemphigus foliaceus (PF, n equals 50), bullous pemphigoid (BP, n equals 42), and non-inflammatory skin diseases (n equals 97) as well as from healthy blood donors (n equals 100). Furthermore, to evaluate the usability in routine diagnostics, 454 consecutive sera from patients with suspected immunobullous disorders were prospectively analyzed in parallel using a) the IF BIOCHIP mosaic and b) a panel of single antibody assays as commonly used by specialized centers.
Using the BIOCHIP mosaic, sensitivities of the desmoglein 1-, desmoglein 3-, and NC16A-specific substrates were 90 percent, 98.5 percent and 100 percent, respectively. BP230 was recognized by 54 percent of the BP sera. Specificities ranged from 98.2 percent to 100 percent for all substrates. In the prospective study, a high agreement was found between the results obtained by the BIOCHIP mosaic and the single test panel for the diagnosis of BP, PV, PF, and sera without serum autoantibodies (Cohen’s kappa between 0.88 and 0.97).
The BIOCHIP mosaic contains sensitive and specific substrates for the indirect IF diagnosis of BP, PF, and PV. Its diagnostic accuracy is comparable with the conventional multi-step approach. The highly standardized and practical BIOCHIP mosaic will facilitate the serological diagnosis of autoimmune blistering diseases.