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Autoantibodies to melanocytes and characterization of melanophages in patients affected by a new variant of endemic pemphigus foliaceus

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Cutaneous Pathology
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 20, 2011
Volume
38
Issue
9
Pages
710–719
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.2011.01746.x
Source
MyScienceWork
License
White

Abstract

Background: Melanin and melanophages are commonly seen under the basement membrane zone of the skin in patients affected by a new variant of endemic pemphigus foliaceus in El Bagre, Colombia (El Bagre‐EPF). Objective: Our study was conducted to determine the nature of these pigmentary alterations. Methods: We utilized clinical, histopathologic and immunologic techniques including direct and indirect immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, Bielschowsky staining and immunoelectron microscopy studies. Results: In the El Bagre‐EPF patients, we detected dermal melanin in melanophages and antigen‐presenting cells, in close proximity to neural and vascular markers. The melanophages consisted of a mixed population expressing CD68, myeloid/histoid antigen and S‐100 protein. By immunoelectron microscopy, the presence of autoantibodies in proximity to melanin granules was confirmed within the melanocytes utilizing 10‐nm gold particles. Conclusion: Dermal antigen‐presenting cells, including melanophages, seem to contain a diverse combination of molecules, representative of an immunologic process where these cells are engulfing both autoantigens and/or cellular debris in El Bagre‐EPF. Autoantibodies to discrete components of melanocytes were also identified; the clinical and immunologic significance of these findings remains unknown. Our work may provide a possible explanation of a darkened complexion in patients affected by endemic pemphigus foliaceus.

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