p38MAPK inhibition prevents disease in pemphigus vulgaris mice

Paula Berkowitz, Peiqi Hu, Simon Warren, Zhi Liu, Luis A. Diaz, David S. Rubenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

166 Scopus citations


Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a life-threatening autoimmune blistering skin disease characterized by detachment of keratinocytes (acantholysis). It has been proposed that PV IgG might trigger signaling and that this process may lead to acantholysis. Indeed, we recently identified a rapid and dose-dependent phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) and heat shock protein (HSP) 27 after binding of PV antibodies to cultured keratinocytes. In human keratinocyte cultures, inhibitors of p38MAPK prevented PV IgG-induced phosphorylation of HSP27 and, more importantly, prevented the early cytoskeletal changes associated with loss of cell-cell adhesion. This study was undertaken to (i) determine whether p38MAPK and HSP25, the murine HSP27 homolog, were similarly phosphorylated in an in vivo model of PV and (ii) investigate the potential therapeutic use of p38MAPK inhibition to block blister formation in an animal model of PV. We now report that p38MAPK inhibitors prevented PV blistering disease in vivo. Targeting the end-organ by inhibiting keratinocyte desmosome signaling may be effective for treating desmosome autoimmune blistering disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12856-12860
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 22 2006


  • Autoimmune
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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