Epidermolysis bullosa dystrophica
| Epidermolysis bullosa dystrophica|
Epidermolysis bullosa dystrophica or Dystrophic EB (DEB) forms which can lead to scarring occur in a deeper tissue level; the sub-lamina densa region (the beneath the lamina densa) within the upper dermis. The disease DEB is caused by genetic defects (or mutations) within the molecule type VII collagen (collagen VII). Collagen VII is a very large molecule (780 nm) that dimerizes to forms a semicircular looping structure: the anchoring fibril. Anchoring fibrils are thought to form a structural link between the epidermal basement membrane and the fibrillar collagens in the upper dermis.
Collagen VII is also present in the epithelial tissue of the esophagus, which leads to chronic scarring, webbing, and obstruction. Affected individuals are often severely malnourished due to trauma to the oral and esophageal mucosa and require feeding tubes for nutrition. They also suffer from iron-deficiency anemia of uncertain origin, which leads to chronic fatigue.
Open wounds on the skin heal slowly or not at all, often scarring extensively, and are particularly susceptible to infection. Many individuals bathe in a bleach and water mixture to fight off these infections.
The chronic inflammation leads to errors in the DNA of the affected skin cells, which in turn causes squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The majority of these patients die before the age of 30, either of SCC or complications related to DEB.
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