Enhanced expression of interstitial collagenase, stromelysin-1, and urokinase plasminogen activator in lesions of dermatitis herpetiformis

J Invest Dermatol. 1995 Aug;105(2):184-9. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12317093.


Because dermatitis herpetiformis is characterized by neutrophilic inflammation and destructive changes in the basement membrane zone, we studied the in situ expression of interstitial collagenase and stromelysin-1 in 11 lesions. A prominent signal for collagenase mRNA was consistently detected in the basal keratinocytes of rete ridges surrounding the neutrophilic abscesses in 10 of 11 lesions, and the expression was independent of the age of the lesion and the migratory state of the basal keratinocytes. Expression of stromelysin-1 was detected in seven of 11 lesions and co-localized with collagenase. No expression of the 92-kDa gelatinase mRNA or matrilysin protein was found in the vicinity of neutrophilic accumulations or the damaged basement membrane. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator mRNA was found in basal keratinocytes in seven of nine samples. Collagenase, stromelysin-1, and urokinase-type plasminogen activator were not expressed in normal-appearing skin of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis. Our results suggest that in lesions of dermatitis herpetiformis, collagenase and stromelysin-1 may be induced in basal keratinocytes by neutrophil cytokines or by altered cell-matrix interactions through contact of keratinocytes with the matrix due to damaged basement membrane. Stromelysin-1, in particular, may contribute to formation of blisters by degrading basement membrane components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Collagenases / genetics
  • Collagenases / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / pathology
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Gelatinases / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / genetics
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator
  • Collagenases
  • Gelatinases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3