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Dermatology - Pathology - Pediatrics and Child Health - Physiology


Deficient Plakophilin-1 Expression Due to a Mutation in PKP1 Causes Ectodermal Dysplasia-Skin Fragility Syndrome in Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dogs
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Author: Thierry Olivry et al.

by Thierry Olivry, Keith E. Linder, Ping Wang, Petra Bizikova, Joseph A. Bernstein, Stanley M. Dunston, Judy S. Paps, Margret L. Casal

In humans, congenital and hereditary skin diseases associated with epidermal cell-cell separation (acantholysis) are very rare, and spontaneous animal models of these diseases are exceptional. Our objectives are to report a novel congenital acantholytic dermatosis that developed in Chesapeake Bay retriever dogs. Nine affected puppies in four different litters were born to eight closely related clinically normal dogs. The disease transmission was consistent with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Clinical signs occurred immediately after birth with superficial epidermal layers sloughing upon pressure. At three month of age, dogs exhibited recurrent superficial skin sloughing and erosions at areas of friction and mucocutaneous junctions; their coat was also finer than normal and there were patches of partial hair loss. At birth, histopathology revealed severe suprabasal acantholysis, which became less severe with ageing. Electron microscopy demonstrated a reduced number of partially formed desmosomes with detached and aggregated keratin intermediate filaments. Immunostaining for desmosomal adhesion molecules revealed a complete lack of staining for plakophilin-1 and anomalies in the distribution of desmoplakin and keratins 10 and 14. Sequencing revealed a homozygous splice donor site mutation within the first intron of PKP1 resulting in a premature stop codon, thereby explaining the inability to detect plakophilin-1 in the skin. Altogether, the clinical and pathological findings, along with the PKP1 mutation, were consistent with the diagnosis of ectodermal dysplasia-skin fragility syndrome with plakophilin-1 deficiency. This is the first occurrence of ectodermal dysplasia-skin fragility syndrome in an animal species. Controlled mating of carrier dogs would yield puppies that could, in theory, be tested for gene therapy of this rare but severe skin disease of children.
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