The mosaic of pemphigus

A. Gorshtein*, Y. Shoenfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pemphigus is an autoimmune blistering disease of skin and mucous membranes. The classic types of pemphigus are pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. In this review we summarize recent advancement in the etiology and the pathogenesis of pemphigus. Desmogleins--transmembrane glycoproteins involved in intracellular adhesion--were recognized as targets of pemphigus antibodies. It was found that the distribution and the expression of desmogleins can explain the difference in the localization of lesions in pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus. Pemphigus develops in a two-step process. The first step leads to the presence of a low titer of autoantibody, the second step results in a significant increase in the antibody titer which causes the clinical stage of the disease. Selective presentation of self peptides can explain the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)--linked susceptibility to autoimmune diseases including pemphigus and rheumatoid arthritis. Peptides selective for the disease-associated molecules can be identified and used to search for microbiologic factors that can take part in the pathogenesis of pemphigus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1053, 1117
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2001


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