Brazilian pemphogus foliaceus autoantibodies are pathogenic to BALB/c mice by passive transfer

J. T. Roscoe, L. Diaz, S. A.P. Sampaio, Raymundo M. Castro, Ramzy S. Labib, Yuzo Takahashi, Harish Patel, Grant J. Anhalt

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149 Scopus citations


Brazilian pemphigus foliaceus (fogo selvagem) is a cutaneous blistering disease endemic to certain areas of South America that has distictive epidemiologic features suggestive of an infectious disease transmitted by an insect vector. Patients with the disease have antiepithelial autoantibodies, both circulating in the serum and bound to lesional epidermis. In order to examine the possible pathogenic role of these autoantibodies, IgG from the sera of these patients was purified and injected into the peritoneum of neonatal BALB/c mice. Thirty-four of 46 mice (74%) receiving parenteral IgG fractions from these patients developed cutaneous lesions that were identical to the human disease by clinical, histologic, immunologic, and ultrastructural criteria. High-titer Brazilian pemphigus foliaceus sera produced lesions more consistently and rapidly than low-titer sera. When injections were discontinued, new lesions ceased to appear and old lesions resolved. The extent of disease correlated with the titer of human antiepithelial antibodies detected in the mouse serum (z < 0.01). Similar concentrations of IgG fractions obtained from sera of unaffected Brazilians living in endemic areas and from American donors did not induce disease when injected into littermates. These results establish that the antiepithelial autoantibodies play an important role in the pathogenesis of the cutaneous lesions in Brazilian pemphigus foliaceus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-541
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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