A subepidermal blistering disease with histopathological features of dermatitis herpetiformis and immunofluorescence characteristcs of bullous pemphigoid: a novel subepidermal blistering disease or a variant of bullous pemphigoid?


Dr Wolfgang Salmhofer, Department of Dermatology, University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 8, A8036 Graz, Austria.


A 64-year-old man presented with a bullous eruption which clinically and histopathologically resembled dermatitis herpetiformis. However, direct immunofluorescence analysis showed IgG deposits at the basement membrane zone, indicating a relationship with bullous pemphigoid or epidermolysis bullosa acquisita. Indirect immunofluorescence studies on salt-split skin showed binding of IgG mainly on the dermal side of the blister. Immunoblot analysis revealed a novel 200 kDa dermal antigen that could be associated with a major pathogen in this blistering a disease. The histopathological similarity to dermatitis herpetiformis and the immunofluorescence findings indicating bullous pemphigoid or epidermolysis bullosa acquisita seem typical of a distinct subepidermal blistering disease characterized by this 200 kDa antigen. However, the pathogenetic role of autoantibodies against this antigen should be further elucidated before confirming whether this case represents a novel subepidermal blistering disease or a special variant of bullous pemphigoid.