Pemphigus represents a group of autoimmune blistering diseases caused by autoantibodies against desmogleins (Dsgs), a class of desmosomal cadherins. Recently, several pemphigus patients only with desmocollin (Dsc) 3-specific antibodies have been reported. Here, we report a case of pemphigus herpetiformis (PH), where only anti-Dsc3-specific antibodies but not anti-Dsg antibodies were detected. A 76-year-old woman presented with a 3-year history of blister formation. Physical examination revealed pruritic erythemas with vesicles on the trunk and legs, but no lesions of the oral mucosa. A skin biopsy specimen revealed intraepidermal blister containing neutrophils, eosinophils, and lymphocytes. Direct immunofluorescence (IF) showed immunoglobulin G (IgG) and complement 3 (C3) depositions on the keratinocyte cell surfaces. Indirect IF showed IgG anti-keratinocyte cell surface antibodies. These findings hinted at a diagnosis of pemphigus. However, repeated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for both anti-Dsg1 and 3 antibodies proved to be negative. Immunoblotting of normal human epidermal extracts revealed Dsc antibodies, and recently established ELISAs using human Dsc1-Dsc3 recombinantly expressed in mammalian cells detected anti-Dsc3 antibodies. Based on these clinical, histopathological, and immunological findings, the patient was diagnosed as PH with only anti-Dsc3 antibodies. Treatment with corticosteroid prednisolone and steroid-sparing agent dapsone accomplished complete clinical remission of the patient.
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