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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 07

J Dermatol

Pruritogens in pemphigoid diseases: Possible therapeutic targets for a burdensome symptom.


Hiroyasu S, Barit J-V JG, Hiroyasu A, Tsuruta D
J Dermatol. 2022 Dec 07.
PMID: 36477831.


Pruritus is a hallmark feature in pemphigoid diseases, where it can be severe and greatly impact the quality of life of affected patients. Despite being a key symptom, the exact pathophysiological mechanisms involved in pruritus in pemphigoid are yet to be fully elucidated and effective therapies addressing them are limited. This review summarizes the present understanding of pruritus specific to pemphigoid diseases, especially the pruritogens that induce it, and the therapeutic options that have been explored so far. The majority of the available evidence is on bullous pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita. Histamine derived from basophils correlates with pruritus severity, with omalizumab demonstrating promising efficacy in pruritus for bullous pemphigoid. IL-4/-13 contribute to itch in bullous pemphigoid with dupilumab being evaluated in clinical trials. Other pruritogens of interest include substance P, tryptase, and thymic stromal lymphopoetin, with therapies targeting them requiring further investigation. Scratching behaviors contribute directly to blister formation through various mechanisms, such as pathological autoantibody recruitment, T helper cell type 1 polarization, and exposure of intracellular autoantigens. Treatments addressing these pathways may contribute to decreasing disease severity. Additional studies are needed to fully characterize how pruritus is regulated in pemphigoid diseases, to help pave the way to develop novel and effective therapeutics that will not only address pruritic symptoms but also decrease disease severity.