The ultrastructural characteristics and immunolocalization of in vivo bound immunoglobulin G (IgG) in skin affected by anti-p200 pemphigoid have not been elucidated. To give insight into the mechanism of blister formation we report a new case of antip200 pemphigoid, studied with stage-oriented morphological analysis and immunoelectron microscopy. Skin biopsy specimens were evaluated ultrastructurally and histologically with immunohistochemistry. By observing the nonblister site, the blister edge and centre of the blister, we determined that neutrophil infiltration increases gradually at the dermoepidermal junction in association with the destruction of type IV collagen. Ultrastructurally, many neutrophils were observed under the lamina densa, with vacuole formation in the dermis. At the periphery of the blister, the lamina densa became fragmented and was observed either at the roof or the floor of the blister. At the centre of the blister, the lamina densa was mainly observed at the blister floor. Postembedding immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that the IgG, bound in vivo, localized at the lamina lucida, while the area beneath the hemidesmosomes was spared. Together with the early involvement of neutrophils and the destruction of the basal lamina, we suggest that the binding of autoantibodies to the nonhemidesmosomal lamina lucida may induce inflammation with neutrophils, resulting in blister formation.
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