Detection of anti-envoplakin and anti-periplakin autoantibodies by ELISA in patients with paraneoplastic pemphigus

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Paraneoplastic pemphigus patients (PNP) develop a group of autoantibodies, among which those against envoplakin and periplakin are almost always found. Epitope mapping has indicated that the linker subdomains of the proteins harbor the major antigenic sites recognized by PNP sera. In order to detect specific autoantibodies for the diagnosis of PNP, we expressed recombinant proteins containing linker subdomains of human periplakin and envoplakin in a human kidney cell line, and used them as the antigens for ELISAs. We found that all of the sera from 16 PNP patients recognized these two recombinant proteins by ELISA, and sera from 20 pemphigus vulgaris (PV), 12 pemphigus foliaceus (PF), 20 bullous pemphigoid (BP), 2 Castleman's tumor without PNP and 20 normal controls showed negative results. We also expressed the extracellular domain of desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) in the cell line, and used this recombinant Dsg3 as the ELISA antigen. Only 11 of our 16 PNP sera were positive, and most PV sera were positive. Our findings indicate that ELISAs using the recombinant proteins containing linker subdomains of envoplakin and periplakin expressed in a human cell line as the antigens are highly sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of PNP.

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