Diagnosis of anti-laminin γ-1 pemphigoid by immunoblot analysis

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Anti-laminin-γ1 (lam-γ1) pemphigoid, a recently described immunobullous disorder sharing immune serological features of bullous pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA), is characterized by the detection of serum IgG autoantibodies against the lam-γ1 chain, a 200 kDa heterotrimeric component of the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ).


The aim of the study was to develop an easy-to-perform and reliable assay for the serological detection of anti-lam-γ1 IgG autoantibodies. The clinical appearance alone is not sufficient to establish diagnosis of anti-lam-γ1 pemphigoid and rather requires immune serological evidence of (i) IgG reactivity against the dermal portion of salt-split human skin; (ii) exclusion of IgG against other components of the DEJ; and (iii) IgG reactivity with a 200 kDa protein of dermal extracts by immunoblot analysis (IB).


The sera of 55 patients with anti-lam-γ1 pemphigoid were tested by IB with two recombinant heterotrimers, laminin 111 (lam-111) and laminin 421 (lam-421), as well as with a recombinant lam-γ1 chain monomer. Additionally, a total of 41 control sera from patients with EBA (n = 15), psoriasis vulgaris (PV; n = 14), and healthy controls (HC; n = 12) were tested.


Immunoblot analysis revealed a positive reactivity with lam-111 and/or lam-421 in 46/55 (84%) of anti-lam-γ1 pemphigoid sera. Moreover, 8/9 of the initially non-reactive sera were positive with the lam-γ1 monomer, leading to an overall sensitivity of 98.2%. Analyses of 41 control sera with the three lam-γ1 recombinants led to a specificity of 88%. Specifically, 3/15 EBA sera, 1/14 PV serum and 1/12 HC serum reacted with the lam-γ1 monomer while only the 3 EBA sera reacted with lam-421.


Here we show a novel two-step IB assay using the two recombinant laminin trimers and lam-γ1 chain monomer for the detection of anti-lam-γ1 serum IgG with high sensitivity and specificity. This assay will facilitate the diagnosis and further characterization of this disease.

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