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Summary

Anti-p200 pemphigoid and bullous pemphigoid (BP) are autoimmune subepidermal blistering diseases characterized by autoantibodies to a 200-kDa dermal antigen (p200) and two hemidesmosomal proteins (BP180 and BP230), respectively. We report a 70-year-old man with haemorrhagic blisters, widespread crusted erosions, and the immunopathological characteristics of anti-p200 pemphigoid. Treatment with doxycycline, topical corticosteroids and immunoadsorption led to rapid clinical remission. However, 19 weeks later, a relapse occurred with generalized itchy urticarial erythema and tense blisters. At this time, both strong dermal and epidermal IgG staining was detected by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy on salt-split skin, and autoantibodies against both p200 and the 16th noncollagenous (NC16A) domain of BP180 were found. Interestingly, the relapse was associated not only with the detection of autoantibodies to a second autoantigen (BP180), but also with an altered clinical phenotype. This case was a unique occasion to directly monitor the emergence of intermolecular epitope spreading during the course of an autoimmune bullous disorder.