Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune blistering disease that is induced by binding of antibodies to a 130/85-kD protein complex on epidermal keratinocytes. An in vivo experimental model of this disease was developed by reconstituting severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice with 1-10 x 10(7) PBL from patients with naturally occurring pemphigus vulgaris. Of 49 reconstituted mice, 34 (69%) produced human IgG levels of > 0.1 mg/ml. Circulating anti-pemphigus antibodies were found in 20 of the 34 successfully reconstituted mice; 44% of these animals had deposits of human IgG in their own skin after it was traumatized by either heat or cold. Spontaneous pemphigus vulgaris-like blisters associated with human IgG deposits were rarely found in mouse skin. By contrast, allogeneic human skin grafted to 10 to 12 mice before reconstitution with patients' PBL developed pemphigus vulgaris-like lesions containing human IgG deposits. These results demonstrate that SCID mice can serve as a model of an antibody-mediated human autoimmune skin disease.
I Juhasz, G S Lazarus, G F Murphy, I M Shih, M Herlyn