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Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system develops antibodies to two of its own proteins, the desmogleins DSG1 and DSG3 that help maintain the integrity of the skin. The immune attack causes painful blisters on the skin and mucus membranes that can lead to infections. Current therapies are geared towards suppressing the entire immune system, but this is problematic as it causes many side effects and leaves the patient vulnerable to infection.

To identify better therapeutic targets, researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona, Switzerland, identified the portions of DSG1 and DSG3 that are targeted by antibodies. In the study, published this month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Antonio Lanzavecchia and colleagues collected immune cells from PV patients and isolated the antibodies to determine which ones were involved in PV. By studying the antibodies, they were able to identify regions of DSG3 that are the primary target of the immune sysm. These findings could help with new ways to diagnose and treat PV.

Full article available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/249883.php

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Immunoadsorption (IA) has been successfully used in a large variety of autoantibody-mediated disorders. In dermatology, IA is increasingly applied as adjuvant treatment for severe and/or refractory autoimmune bullous diseases. These disorders are characterized by autoantibodies against structural proteins of the skin and/or mucous membranes and include, among others, pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus foliaceus, and bullous pemphigoid. Autoimmune blistering diseases are associated with a high mortality (pemphigus) or morbidity (bullous pemphigoid) and in particular in pemphigus diseases, treatment is challenging. The pathogenetic role of autoantibodies in most of the immunobullous diseases has been clearly demonstrated, therefore, removal of these autoantibodies is a rational therapeutic approach. IA has been shown to effectively lower the serum autoantibodies and to lead to rapid clinical responses. Most recently, IA has been successfully applied in patients with severe atopic dermatitis and high total serum IgE levels. Here, the different treatment protocols, clinical efficacy, and adverse events are summarized.

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