Background The use of ELISA testing of antibodies to desmogleins 1 and 3 (anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3) and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) has been strongly supported for the serologic diagnosis of pemphigus. The purpose of this study was to correlate anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 with IIF values, disease localization, treatment and clinical course in Greek patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV).
Methods A total of 54 patients with PV had ELISA serum testing for the presence and titers of anti-Dsg1, anti-Dsg3 and IIF. Anti-Dsg1, anti-Dsg3 and IIF were correlated with treatment and disease localization. For 40 patients, titers of anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 were assessed in relation to treatment and clinical course after 12 months.
Results Anti-Dsg3 and anti-Dsg1 positivity in patients with negative IIF was 70.6% and 58.8%, respectively. Anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 were positive in 89.3% and 100% of patients with mucocutaneous disease, respectively, 88.9% and 66.7% of patients with skin limited disease, respectively and 52.9% and 76.5% of patients with mucosal limited disease, respectively. Both antibody titers showed significant correlation with IIF and treatment status. Improvement of clinical status was associated with significant decrease of both anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 after 12 months.
Conclusions Serum testing of anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 in PV patients not only provides significant correlations with IIF, treatment and disease type, but may serve as a monitoring tool for clinical course and treatment guidance.