Inherited epidermolysis bullosa: update on the clinical and genetic aspects

An Bras Dermatol. 2020 Sep-Oct;95(5):551-569. doi: 10.1016/j.abd.2020.05.001. Epub 2020 Jul 8.


Inherited epidermolysis bullosa is a group of genetic diseases characterized by skin fragility and blistering on the skin and mucous membranes in response to minimal trauma. Epidermolysis bullosa is clinically and genetically very heterogeneous, being classified into four main types according to the layer of skin in which blistering occurs: epidermolysis bullosa simplex (intraepidermal), junctional epidermolysis bullosa (within the lamina lucida of the basement membrane), dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (below the basement membrane), and Kindler epidermolysis bullosa (mixed skin cleavage pattern). Furthermore, epidermolysis bullosa is stratified into several subtypes, which consider the clinical characteristics, the distribution of the blisters, and the severity of cutaneous and extracutaneous signs. Pathogenic variants in at least 16 genes that encode proteins essential for the integrity and adhesion of skin layers have already been associated with different subtypes of epidermolysis bullosa. The marked heterogeneity of the disease, which includes phenotypes with a broad spectrum of severity and many causal genes, hinders its classification and diagnosis. For this reason, dermatologists and geneticists regularly review and update the classification criteria. This review aimed to update the state of the art on inherited epidermolysis bullosa, with a special focus on the associated clinical and genetic aspects, presenting data from the most recent reclassification consensus, published in 2020.

Keywords: Epidermolysis bullosa; Inheritance patterns; Skin diseases,; genetic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blister
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Dystrophica* / genetics
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa* / genetics
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa, Junctional* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Skin