Spontaneous autoimmune subepidermal blistering diseases in animals: a comprehensive review
[Review of ]. BMC VETERINARY RESEARCH, 19(1).
Abstract Autoimmune subepidermal blistering diseases (AISBDs) are rare skin disorders of animals that were first identified in dogs but several AISBDs are now recognised in other companion animal species. Most AISBDs in animals are homologues of the human diseases and are thought to share similar pathomechanisms of epidermal and/or mucosal blister formation caused by autoantibodies targeting structural proteins of the basement membrane zone (BMZ). Disruption of their structural function by the autoantibodies and/or recruited inflammation leads to BMZ fragility, which presents clinically as vesicles, bullae and, later, deep erosions and ulcers. Canine AISBDs are the best characterised, particularly the more common variants such as mucous membrane pemphigoid (48%), epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) (26%), and bullous pemphigoid (10%). Exceedingly rare AISBDs in the dog are junctional EBA, mixed AISBD, type-1 bullous systemic lupus erythematosus, linear IgA dermatosis, and pemphigus gestationis. The diagnosis of a specific AISBD is made by combining the clinical features (breed, age, lesion distribution) with histological evidence of subepithelial clefting, but not all AISBDs can be differentiated in this manner and specialised immunological testing is required. This latter, unfortunately, is not readily available and, therefore, the specific AISBD diagnosis often remains unconfirmed. While this limits further understanding of these diseases, it does not prevent clinicians from treating their patients, as the treatment approaches are similar for the different AISBDs in dogs. This review primarily focuses on canine AISBDs, the species for which these diseases have been best characterised, and shorter descriptions of variants in other species are also provided.