How do keratinizing disorders and blistering disorders overlap?

Exp Dermatol. 2013 Feb;22(2):83-7. doi: 10.1111/exd.12021. Epub 2012 Oct 8.


Inherited keratinizing disorders are caused by mutations in the genes encoding cornified cell envelope proteins, enzymes and their inhibitors, adhesion molecules, cytoskeletal proteins and others in the epidermis. These molecules are known to regulate differentiation, proliferation and cell adhesions. Intriguingly, some keratinizing disorders show blistering skin lesions, while some inherited blistering disorders show abnormal keratinization. Therefore, hereditary keratinizing and blistering diseases are closely related and show overlapping genetic backgrounds. In this review, we overviewed keratinizing and blistering disorders in terms of overlapping of the two disease groups. Gene mutations in desmosomal components cause striate keratoderma, Naxos disease, epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma and plakophilin deficiency, which first show skin fragility and blisters and later hyperkeratosis. Gene mutations in hemidesmosomal components cause various forms of epidermolysis bullosa, some of which show hyperkeratosis on the nails, palms and soles, in addition to blister formation. Diseases with gene mutations in calcium pump proteins are Darier disease and Hailey-Hailey disease, which show clinicopathological overlaps and develop both keratinizing and blistering skin lesions. Finally, gene mutations in epidermal keratins cause epidermolysis bullosa simplex, epidermolytic ichthyosis, superficial epidermolytic ichthyosis, epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma and pachyonychia congenita/focal palmoplantar keratoderma, which show thickening of the palms and soles with underlying blister formation. In general, responsible proteins for diseases developing both keratinizing and blistering conditions are adhesion molecules, calcium pump proteins and keratins, but not connexins, cornified cell envelop proteins, enzymes or inhibitors. It is still unknown how particular keratinizing diseases develop blisters and vice versa.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / genetics
  • Blister / genetics*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epidermis / pathology*
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa / genetics
  • Hair Diseases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hyperkeratosis, Epidermolytic / genetics*
  • Keratins / genetics*
  • Keratins / physiology
  • Keratoderma, Palmoplantar / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Pemphigus, Benign Familial / genetics
  • Skin Diseases / genetics*


  • Keratins
  • Calcium

Supplementary concepts

  • Naxos disease