Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 302, Issue 4, pp 241–253 | Cite as

Immunoadsorption in dermatology

  • Enno SchmidtEmail author
  • Detlef Zillikens
Mini Review


Immunoadsorption (IA), also termed immunoapheresis, has been established as effective and specific tool advantageous to plasmapheresis to remove immunoglobulin and immune complexes and in cytapheresis, immune cells from the circulation. IA was successfully used in various autoantibody-mediated diseases, e.g. acquired hemophilia, myasthenia gravis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Guillain–Barré syndrome. In dermatology, IA has been applied as an effective adjuvant treatment for autoimmune bullous diseases. Autoimmune blistering disorders are a heterogeneous group of diseases that are associated with autoantibodies to desmosomal (pemphigus group) and basal membrane zone proteins (pemphigoid group, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita). Because the pathogenic relevance of autoantibodies was clearly demonstrated in the majority of these disorders, removal of autoantibodies, therefore, appears to be a rational therapeutic approach for these patients. IA has been shown to effectively lower the autoantibody levels and leads to rapid clinical responses in patients with immunobullous disorders. Here, clinical effects and adverse events of IA in more than 50 reported patients with autoimmune blistering disorders are reviewed. In addition, an overview of the available IA systems and treatment protocols is provided and guidelines of a recent consensus of German, Austrian, and Swiss experts for the use of IA in autoimmune bullous diseases are summarized.


Autoantibody Pemphigoid Immunoapheresis Pemphigus Treatment 



This work was supported by the Schleswig–Holstein Cluster of Excellence in Inflammation Research (DFG EXC 306/1).


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of LübeckLübeckGermany

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