Functional involvement of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor in pemphigus acantholysis

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Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) has been well documented in the development of pemphigus acantholysis. The function of its receptor (uPA-R) in pemphigus acantholysis has only recently attracted attention. Increased expression of uPA-R has been demonstrated in pemphigus vulgaris. In this study, we have further explored the functional involvement of uPA-R in pemphigus acantholysis. Our results show that uPA-R expression is significantly increased in acantholytic foci of pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus but not in bullous pemphigoid or normal skin specimens; the expression of uPA-R in cultured human keratinocytes is subjected to regulation by pemphigus vulgaris IgG but not by pemphigoid IgG or normal human IgG; furthermore, anti-uPA-R monoclonal antibody effectively inhibits pemphigus vulgaris IgG induced acantholysis in skin organ cultures. These data suggest that uPA-R may play an important role in the pathogenesis of pemphigus acantholysis.

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