A spontaneously arising porcine model of bullous pemphigoid

Arch Dermatol Res. 2000 Jan;292(1):37-45. doi: 10.1007/pl00007459.


Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an IgG-mediated autoimmune blistering disease targeting the hemidesmosomal proteins bullous pemphigoid antigens 1 and 2. Currently, there is no active animal model in which to dissect the immunopathogenic mechanism. We noticed that cutaneous blistering arose spontaneously in 12 adult Yucatan minipigs. Skin lesions consisted of turgid, isolated or clustered vesicles that occasionally evolved from erythematous and pruritic patches. Histopathological examination revealed subepidermal vesicles rich in intact and degranulated eosinophils. Antigen mapping and transmission electron microscopy confirmed that dermoepidermal separation took place in the lamina lucida of the epidermal basement membrane zone. Direct immunofluorescence revealed the presence of IgG deposited linearly at the dermoepidermal junction in seven of nine skin specimens examined. Indirect immunofluorescence testing confirmed the presence, in the serum from eight of eight affected pigs, of circulating basement membrane-specific IgG autoantibodies (titers 1 : 50 to 1 : 250). Using uncleaved and salt-split lip substrates, the autoantibodies were shown to target antigens situated not only at the basal, but also at the lateral and apical aspects of stratum basale keratinocytes. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that circulating IgG autoantibodies recognized hemidesmosomal antigen(s). ELISA, immunoblotting and immunoadsorption demonstrated that five of eight serum samples exhibited high immunoreactivity against BPAG2-NC16A peptides. This novel porcine acquired blistering dermatosis could be proposed as a valuable model to conduct immunomechanistic studies on the natural progression of BP, correlation of autoreactive T cells or autoantibodies with disease activity, and the role of eosinophils in the blistering process, as these diseases cannot be modeled easily in human patients or in murine passive transfer models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Autoantigens / analysis
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Collagen Type XVII
  • Collagen*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dystonin
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunosorbent Techniques
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens*
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / immunology
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / metabolism
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / pathology*
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature


  • Autoantigens
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DST protein, human
  • Dystonin
  • Epitopes
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens
  • Collagen