Antibodies against desmoglein 1 in healthy subjects in endemic and nonendemic areas of pemphigus foliaceus (fogo selvagem) in Peru

Alex Ortega Loayza, Willy Ramos, George Elgart, Peter Bouman, Gerardo Jiménez, Jack Avila, Isabel Rojas, María Vilcarromero, Jorge Hurtado, Gisella Lindo, Carlos Galarza

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Background: Endemic pemphigus foliaceus or fogo selvagem is an autoimmune skin disease characterized by the presence of subcorneal superficial blisters and antibodies of the immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) class specific for the desmosomal glycoprotein, desmoglein 1. In Peru, no studies have been published on the seroprevalence of antibodies against desmoglein 1 in healthy subjects from endemic foci. Subjects and methods: This was a cross-sectional study. The sample included 82 healthy subjects, 41 from the Pueblo Libre community, a focus of endemic pemphigus foliaceus, and 41 from a nonendemic urban area in Pucallpa City. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine the presence of antibodies against desmoglein 1. Samples were processed and tested at the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida. Results: It was found that 31.7% of healthy individuals (13 subjects) from the endemic focus had anti-desmoglein 1 antibodies. A statistically significant association was found between the distance from the endemic focus and the presence of antibodies against desmoglein 1 in subjects living within the endemic focus Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio (OR), 3.34; P = 0.03; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-10.48]. Agriculture as an occupation showed a statistically significant association with the presence of antibodies against desmoglein 1 (Mantel-Haenszel OR, 7.84; P <0.001; 95% CI, 2.47-24.87). Conclusions: Antibodies against desmoglein 1 are present in healthy subjects exposed to an endemic focus of pemphigus foliaceus (fogo selvagem). Agriculture is associated with a high risk of development of antibodies against desmoglein 1 in the endemic focus of the Pueblo Libre community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-542
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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