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Skin antibodies – pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid

Category Immunology
Test background

There are two types of antibody detected in the bullous dermatoses: intra-epidermal/desmosome antibody (pemphigus antibody) and basement membrane zone antibody (associated predominantly with bullous pemphigoid). These are IgG antibodies that are present in the serum of 70-90 % of affected individuals. The pemphigus antibody concentration correlates with disease activity and disappears during clinical remission, while the pemphigoid antibody does not. Indirect immunofluorescence is performed on monkey oesophagus and two patterns can be identified:

Clinical Indications

Presentation of painful skin lesions and mouth sores with or without possible lung involvement Differential diagnosis of eczema, pemphigus foliaceus (PF) and dermatitis

Reference range


Sample & container required RST (rust top)
Sample volume 5-10 mL (1 mL serum)
Turnaround time 28 days

Not currently performed in house; this test is referred to the Protein Reference Unit, Sheffield.