Author(s): Scully C, Mignogna M
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Abstract Pemphigus defines a group of rare mucocutaneous autoimmune diseases of which pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is the most common. The aetiology and pathogenesis of PV are not completely clear, but there is a fairly strong genetic background: ethnic groups such as Ashkenazi Jews and people of Mediterranean and Indian origin are particularly susceptible and there is a link to HLA class II alleles. The initiating event in PV is not clear, but circulating IgG autoantibodies develop, directed particularly against the intercellular cadherin desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) in desmosomes of stratified squamous epithelium. Oral lesions often herald the disease and are initially vesiculobullous, but they rupture readily to leave ulcers. Involvement of other mucosa and skin is almost inevitable and PV is potentially life threatening. The diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy with histological examination and immunostaining. Management is largely by systemic immunosuppression with corticosteroids, usually azathioprine or other agents, but newer treatments with potentially fewer adverse effects look promising.
This article was published in Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals