Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is an autoimmune subepidermal blistering disease caused by autoantibodies against type VII collagen. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is currently available to detect autoantibodies in EBA. There have been reports suggesting generically that ELISA indices reflect EBA disease severity; however, there is, as yet, no conclusion as to whether ELISA indices fluctuate with disease activity over time in each EBA patient. This study aimed to investigate whether ELISA titers fluctuate with EBA disease activity and to validate the clinical significance of checking ELISA values in EBA by monitoring type VII collagen ELISA titers and disease severity, evaluated in terms of numbers of blisters and erosions as a clinical score, over time in three Japanese patients with EBA. All three cases in this study, which were treated successfully, showed titers of anti-type VII collagen autoantibodies detected by ELISA that fluctuated in parallel with disease activity. Especially in case 1, we could determine that the expanding erosions were not due to flare-ups of EBA because the ELISA indices stayed low, although new lesions continued to appear. In fact, control of infection and nutrition helped the lesions to become epithelialized. In conclusion, we found that repeated ELISA measurements are useful in monitoring disease activity and making decisions in EBA treatment plans.
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