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Rudimentary Hemidesmosome Formation in Congenital Generalized Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa in the Sprague-Dawley Rat

Brenneman, K. A., Olivry, T., Dorman, D. C.
skin diseases, rats, histopathology, ultrastructure, case studies
Seven of 14 newborn pups in a litter of Sprague-Dawley rats were found to have generalized detachment of the epidermis, which was thin, wrinkled, and hung in loose folds over distal extremities. Histologic and ultrastructural examination of the skin showed noninflammatory separation of the epidermis from the dermis at the lamina lucida of the basement membrane zone. Ultrastructurally, hemidesmosomes were small and had a rudimentary appearance; keratin tonofilaments in basal keratinocytes were detached from the hemidesmosomes. The skin lesions were consistent with generalized junctional epidermolysis bullosa, which has not previously been reported in the rat. In humans, generalized junctional epidermolysis bullosa is most commonly caused by autosomal recessive inheritance of defective proteins of the hemidesmosomes or anchoring filaments. The specific protein defect involved in the rat lesion was not determined because fresh frozen tissue was not available.