Ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid after Lyell syndrome: occasional finding or predisposing event?

Luca Fania, Maria Ilaria Giannico, Romina Fasciani, Anna Zampetti, Simone Antonio Ambrogio, Emilio Balestrazzi, Claudio Feliciani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (OMMP) is an autoimmune disease involving the eye and characterized by subepithelial detachment resulting from an immunologic reaction against conjunctival basal membrane zone (BMZ) antigens. Lyell syndrome (LS) is a drug-induced, T cell-mediated, cytotoxic reaction involving the mucocutaneous areas. Two patients with LS are presented in whom OMMP developed. DESIGN: Report of 2 cases. PARTICIPANTS: Two male patients, 80 and 60 years old, with persistent corneal ulcerations, corneal melting, and inflammation some months after an LS episode. METHODS: Conjunctival biopsy samples were obtained to perform direct immunofluorescence (DIF) and histologic analyses. Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) also were performed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Immunodeposit findings on the conjunctival BMZ obtained by DIF and IIF, inflammatory infiltration of the corneoconjunctival samples studied by histologic analysis, and autoantibodies of patient sera directed against BMZ antigens tested by ELISA. RESULTS: Direct immunofluorescence analyses showed immunoglobulin G and complement 3 component deposits along the BMZ in a linear pattern. Histologic analysis revealed the presence of eosinophils, neutrophils, and mast cells with fibrin deposition in the substantia propria of both patients; the data confirmed the clinical suspicion of OMMP. The IIF and ELISA results were negative. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic eye surface injury associated with LS may promote autoimmunization against ocular epithelial BMZ antigens, playing a strategic role in the subsequent onset of OMMP. The occurrence of OMMP after LS could be an occasional finding, or conversely, LS could be an underestimated predisposing factor in the development of OMMP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-693
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid


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