Rat bladder epithelium: a sensitive substrate for indirect immunofluorescence of bullous pemphigoid

Acta Derm Venereol. 2000 May;80(3):175-8. doi: 10.1080/000155500750042916.


Serological diagnosis of bullous pemphigoid is based on immunoblotting or indirect immunofluorescence on normal human salt-split skin. These methods are expensive or time-consuming and not available as a routine test in all laboratories. We used rat bladder epithelium as substrate for indirect immunofluorescence and compared it with other substrates and with immunoblotting. Twenty-nine bullous pemphigoid sera were studied on rat bladder epithelium, monkey oesophagus, salt-split skin and with immunoblotting on human keratinocyte cultures. Indirect immunofluorescence on rat bladder epithelium proved to be more sensitive (72%) than on monkey oesophagus alone (45%) and less sensitive than on salt-split skin (97%). Rat bladder epithelium, when tested on 41 sera of a control group, showed a very high specificity: 2/41 (95%). In combination with immunoblotting on keratinocyte extracts, indirect immunofluorescence on rat bladder epithelium allowed 93% of sera to be recognized, a value close to the salt-split skin alone. Rat bladder epithelium appears to be a more sensitive substrate than monkey oesophagus for the diagnosis of bullous pemphigoid and, although less specific, it is easier and faster than using salt-split skin, which remains indispensable to distinguish bullous pemphigoid from epidermolysis bullosa acquisita.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantigens / analysis
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / analysis
  • Collagen / immunology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins*
  • Dystonin
  • Epithelium
  • Esophagus / cytology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / methods*
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Keratinocytes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / immunology
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / diagnosis*
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / immunology
  • Rats
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / immunology
  • Urinary Bladder / cytology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DST protein, human
  • Dystonin
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Non-Fibrillar Collagens
  • collagen type XVII
  • Collagen