The possibility that the distribution of skin lesions in some cutaneous diseases is due to variations in the antigenic properties of skin was investigated by mapping the expression of the skin-specific pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid antigens in different regions of the body. The expression of both antigens was relatively stable within the same region, but varied between regions in a pattern that was distinct for each antigen. For each antigen there was a correlation between regions of high expression and location of skin lesions in autoimmune diseases involving the antigen. The results indicate that there are marked regional differences in the antigenic properties of skin and suggest this may influence the distribution of cutaneous lesions in some skin diseases.

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