Longitudinal Tracking of Autoantibody Levels in a Pemphigus Vulgaris Patient: Support for a Role of Anti-Desmoglein 1 Autoantibodies as Predictors of Disease Progression

February 2017 | Volume 16 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 135 | Copyright © 2017

Nadia Y. Abidi MD, Irene Lainiotis BS, Gretchen Malikowski MD, Kristina Seiffert-Sinha MD, and Animesh A. Sinha MD PhD

University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY


Anti-desmoglein (Dsg) 1 and -Dsg3 antibody titers have an established role in the diagnosis of the autoimmune blistering skin disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). However, their usefulness for disease monitoring has been controversial. A recent large-scale immunoprofiling study by our group indicated that anti-Dsg1 levels may be a better predictor of disease activity than anti-Dsg3 levels, with declining levels predicting progression from active phase of disease to early remission, irrespective of lesional subtypes. Here, we report an illustrative case of a PV patient with mucocutaneous disease that was followed longitudinally for >2.5 years clinically and by serum serology. Autoantibody levels directed against both Dsg1 and -3 showed a moderate correlation with PDAI scores, supporting a correlation of Dsg1 and 3 levels with disease severity. However, while both anti-Dsg3 and -Dsg1 antibody levels demonstrated a steady parallel decline after initiation of rituximab therapy, only anti-Dsg1 antibodies fell to levels below detectability with the progression to remission, while anti-Dsg3 levels remained elevated. This case illustrates the potential key role and clinical benefit of tracking anti-Dsg1 levels to monitor and conceivably predict disease activity in patients with PV. J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(2):135-139.

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