Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is a clinically and immunopathologically heterogenous disease with an incidence of about 2/million inhabitants/year in central Europe. Pemphigoid diseases are characterized by autoantibodies against structural proteins of the epidermis and/or surface-close epithelia. MMP has been defined as pemphigoid disease with predominant mucosal lesions. Most frequently, the oral cavity and the conjunctivae are affected. Lesions outside the mouth tend to heal with scarring leading to visual impairment and finally blindness, as well as, more rarely, impairment of breathing and food intake. Autoantibodies target BP180 (collagen type XVII), laminin 332, BP230 (nearly always in conjunction with other antigens), and type VII collagen in about 75%, 10-20%, 10-30%, and <5% of MMP patients, respectively. While the main autoantibody isotype is IgG, additional, and less frequently exclusive, IgA autoantibodies can be detected in the majority of patients. Assaying for anti-laminin 332 reactivity is pivotal, since in about a quarter of patients with anti-laminin 332 MMP, a malignancy, mainly solid cancers, is associated. The pathophysiology of MMP is yet incompletely understood. A recent mouse model of anti-laminin 332 MMP replicating characteristic clinical and immunopathological findings of the human disease may be helpful to close this knowledge gap. Diagnosis is established by the clinical picture with predominant mucosal lesions and visualization of tissue-bound anti-basement membrane zone antibodies by direct immunofluorescence microscopy. In recent S3 guidelines initiated by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, the clinical spectrum and diagnostic strategies are detailed. In addition, treatment regimens for different clinical situations including patients with exclusive oral or ocular involvement are outlined. Future studies are needed to better understand the clinical complexity and associations as well as to establish widely available diagnostic assays and evidence-based therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: Autoimmunity; BP180; Laminin 332; Malignancy; Mucous membrane pemphigoid; S3 guidelines; Type VII collagen.
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