Cases reported "Acantholysis"

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1/3. A localized variant of paraneoplastic pemphigus: acantholysis associated with malignant melanoma.

    We report a 72-year-old male patient with a nodular malignant melanoma that was associated with focal suprabasal acantholysis (FSA). This phenomenon, which is regarded as an incidental finding by dermatopathologists, may be associated with inflammatory and also neoplastic skin diseases. Haematoxylin and eosin stained sections from an erythematous plaque surrounding the patient's tumour showed FSA, direct immunofluorescence (DIF) and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) on normal human skin, monkey oesophagus and rat urinary bladder were negative. On electron microscopy few desmosomes could be detected in the basal cell layer of the acantholytic areas and there was a nearly complete loss of these structures in the spinous cell layer. Only remnants of cytoplasmic plaques and keratin filaments could be observed in those areas. In contrast, adherens junctions appeared to be well preserved. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using recombinant fusion proteins as antigens did not show circulating autoantibodies against desmoglein 1 (Dsg1) or desmoglein 3 (Dsg3). In contrast, immunoblotting revealed autoantibodies directed against keratinocyte antigens with a molecular weight of 85 kDa and 250 kDa, the first band corresponding to the molecular weight of comigrating plakoglobin. immunoprecipitation with patient serum also revealed a 85-kDa band. We conclude that these autoantibodies, probably in conjunction with cofactors produced by the tumour, could play a part in the pathogenesis of this variant of FSA, for which we propose the term 'localized paraneoplastic pemphigus.'
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ranking = 1
keywords = desmosomes
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2/3. Loss of desmoplakin tail causes lethal acantholytic epidermolysis bullosa.

    The cytoplasmic plaque protein desmoplakin (DP), which is located in desmosomes, plays a major role in epithelial and muscle cell adhesion by linking the transmembrane cadherins to the cytoplasmic intermediate filament network. Mutations of DP may cause striate palmoplantar keratoderma, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, skin fragility/woolly hair syndrome, Naxos-like disease, and Carvajal syndrome. DP must be indispensable, because DP-/- mice are early abortive. Here, we report a patient with severe fragility of skin and mucous membranes caused by genetic truncation of the DP tail. The new phenotype is lethal in the neonatal period because of immense transcutaneous fluid loss. The phenotype also comprised universal alopecia, neonatal teeth, and nail loss. histology showed suprabasal clefting and acantholysis throughout the spinous layer, mimicking pemphigus. Electron microscopy revealed disconnection of keratin intermediate filaments from desmosomes. Immunofluorescence staining of DP showed a distinct punctate intercellular pattern in the patient's skin. Protein analysis revealed expression of truncated DP polypeptides. Mutational analysis of the patient demonstrated compound heterozygosity for two DP mutations, 6079C-->T (R1934X) and 6370delTT, respectively. Aberrant mRNA transcripts that predict premature termination of translation with loss of the three intermediate filament-binding subdomains in the DP tail were detected by RT-PCR. The new dramatic phenotype, which we named "lethal acantholytic epidermolysis bullosa," underscores the paramount role of DP in epidermal integrity.
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ranking = 2
keywords = desmosomes
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3/3. Paraneoplastic pemphigus. An autoimmune mucocutaneous disease associated with neoplasia.

    BACKGROUND and methods. We describe five patients with underlying neoplasms in whom painful mucosal ulcerations and polymorphous skin lesions developed, usually with progression to blistering eruptions on the trunk and extremities. Histologic examination showed vacuolization of epidermal basal cells, keratinocyte necrosis, and acantholysis. Immunofluorescence testing revealed atypical pemphigus-like autoantibodies in perilesional epithelium and serum from all five patients. We studied the antigenic specificities of the autoantibodies by indirect immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation, using extracts of 14C-labeled human keratinocytes. IgG purified from the serum of one patient was passively transferred to four neonatal mice to test for pathogenicity. RESULTS. Immunofluorescence testing showed that the autoantibodies bound to the surface of tissues containing desmosomes, including complex and simple epithelia, and myocardium. An identical and unique complex of four polypeptides with molecular weights of 250, 230, 210, and 190 was immunoprecipitated by all serum samples. The 250-kd polypeptide comigrated with desmoplakin I (a protein found in the desmosomes of all epithelia), and the 230-kd antigen comigrated with the antigen of bullous pemphigoid. Cutaneous blisters, a positive Nikolsky's sign, and epidermal and esophageal acantholysis developed in all mice into which the autoantibody was injected. Electron microscopy showed epidermal acantholysis similar to lesions of experimentally induced pemphigus vulgaris. CONCLUSION. These five patients with cancer had a novel acantholytic mucocutaneous disease characterized by autoantibodies that were pathogenic after passive transfer. The autoantibodies from these patients reacted with an antigen complex composed of desmoplakin I and the 230-kd antigen of bullous pemphigoid and two as yet unidentified epithelial antigens. We suggest the term "paraneoplastic pemphigus" for this disease.
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ranking = 2
keywords = desmosomes
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