Epidermolysis bullosa and the partnership with autoimmunity: what should we assimilate?

Susanna Esposito, Sophie Guez, Francesca Manzoni, Annalisa Bosco, Donato Rigante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bullous skin diseases are characterized by genetic abnormalities related to structural epidermal proteins or organ-specific autoantibodies against the same proteins and are revealed by blister formation on skin or mucous membranes, with differences in blister depth, morphology, and topography. Both inherited and autoimmune forms of these disorders can be framed in the context of epidermolysis bullosa. Their clinical spectrum varies from early lethal to mild variants with normal life expectancy, and several distinct phenotypes differ for age of onset, extent, location and depth of skin and mucous lesions, or scarring severity. Recently, different inflammatory processes blended with autoimmune phenomena have been demonstrated in both inherited and acquired epidermolysis bullosa, revealing that this overlapping might cause substantial implications in terms of disease course and outcome. Although several associations between epidermolysis bullosa in its different variants and autoimmune diseases have been reported, it is not yet completely clear how it happens and why this association occurs in only some patients. Autoantibodies are the primary cause of the disease in acquired epidermolysis bullosa, whereas they can be produced as a secondary event due to genetically determined skin damage in inherited epidermolysis bullosa, contributing significantly to the worsening of the disease. The awareness of this overlap may help in identifying new therapeutic approaches with immunosuppressive drugs that could have a significant impact in terms of prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalImmunologic Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Acquired epidermolysis bullosa
  • Autoimmunity
  • Epidermolysis bullosa
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Inherited epidermolysis bullosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Medicine(all)

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