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Diagnosis of pemphigus by ELISA: a critical evaluation of two ELISAs for the detection of antibodies to the major pemphigus antigens, desmoglein 1 and 3

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

K E Harman, M J Gratian, P T Seed, B S Bhogal, S J Challacombe, M M Black

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236 - 240
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

King's Authors


Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF) are characterized by autoantibodies to the desmosomal glycoproteins desmoglein 3 (Dsg 3) and Dsg 1 (Dsg 1), respectively. In this study, two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) which detect IgG autoantibodies to Dsg 1 and Dsg 3 have been evaluated. A total of 317 normal and disease controls, 82 patients with PV and 25 with PF were studied. The Dsg 3 ELISA was positive in all 34 patients with untreated PV and the Dsg 1 ELISA was positive in all 10 with untreated PF. When patients undergoing treatment were included, the sensitivities fell to 95% and 92%, respectively, but still compared favourably to the sensitivity of indirect immunofluorescence which was 79% in PV and 84% in PF. All PF sera were negative in the Dsg 3 ELISA and the specificity of both assays was 98% or greater. Large numbers of samples could be analysed simultaneously over a relatively short time period. The Dsg 1 and Dsg 3 ELISAs also provided objective, quantitative, reproducible data which allowed differentiation of PV from PF and in view of these advantages, they are likely to become a routine technique in diagnostic laboratories.

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