Anti-Dsg-I (Pemphigus Foliaceus)

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  • Anti-Dsg-I (Pemphigus Foliaceus)

    1 test included



blood sample




Age group

7 years & above

The anti-DSG-1 test is a screening test used for diagnosing an autoimmune disease called pemphigus foliaceus. This condition is characterised by the formation of itchy blisters or sores on the skin, mouth, or genitals.

Pemphigus foliaceus is a rare and relatively benign form of pemphigus. It is caused by the loss of intercellular adhesions in keratinocytes, which are located in the upper part of the epidermis. This leads to the formation of superficial blisters that appear when the skin is rubbed.

Keratinocytes are the most prominent cells making up the epidermis, constituting about 90% of the epidermal skin cells. These cells are glued to each other at unique sticky spots called desmosomes. 

In pemphigus foliaceus, the autoantibodies target and bind to the desmoglein-1 proteins, also known as the DSG-1 proteins. As a result of this action, the keratinocytes separate from each other, and the resultant replacement is a fluid—the blister. 

These blisters also rupture easily since they are formed near the surface of the skin. The rupturing can cause fluid to ooze out. Once the blisters break open, they can form sores on the skin. Gradually, these sores scale and crust over.

The anti-DSG-1 test is used to detect the presence of these DSG-1 proteins to help diagnose pemphigus foliaceus. It is a standard blood test, where the clinical lab technician draws blood from a vein in the arm and sends it for analysis in a labelled container. The subsequent results can help determine if the patient is suffering from pemphigus foliaceus or not.

The anti-DSG-1 test is a useful indirect immunofluorescence assay to confirm the diagnosis of Pdmphigus foliaceus and also, to know the improvement during and after treatment. Physicians advice to do both DsG1 and DsG3 antibodies as an initial test in order to identify overlapping of clinical types. A skin biopsy can also be done from the blister for routine HPE and Direct immunofluorescence on the tissue. 

Some of the reference values for the results of the pemphigus foliaceus diagnostic test are:

  • If the results show a value of less than 20 RU/ml (relative units/millilitre), then the patient might not have pemphigus foliaceus.
  • If the obtained results have a value equal to or more than 20 RU/ml, then further tests should be done to confirm the diagnosis of the disease.

In many patients, the DSG-1 antibody concentrations may be correlated with disease activity. Patients with a severe case of pemphigus foliaceus may have a high concentration of DSG-1 antibodies. 

Apollo 24|7 offers a comprehensive anti-DSG-1 test in multiple labs all over the country. A doctor might recommend this lab test if there is an emergence of fluid-filled blisters on the back, chest, and shoulders.

Although pemphigus foliaceus is not painful, it is characterised by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the area of the blisters. It is vital to get medical intervention for this condition since the resultant bacteria may leak into the bloodstream and cause sepsis.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ravichandran G, Sr. Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals Greams Road, Chennai

faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Since pemphigus foliaceus is an autoimmune disease, it is likely to occur when the antibodies mistakenly target the body’s own tissues. The chance of getting affected by this disease can be due to many factors. These are: Genetics Being exposed to the sun Getting an insect bite, especially in South American countries Side effects of drugs like penicillamine, candesartan and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, among others.
No, the anti-DSG-1 test is strictly a diagnostic test used to determine the presence of DSG-1 antibodies in the body. If the results show more than the required amount (> 20 RU/ml), the doctor might suggest a suitable treatment plan.
DSG-1 stands for desmoglein-1 proteins. These are compounds used to bind the keratinocytes present in the epidermal skin cells. These proteins are vital to maintain tissue integrity and facilitate cell-to-cell communication for proper functioning.
The anti-DSG-1 test is a blood test known to have minimal to no complications. At most, there will be slight bruising at the spot where the technician draws the blood. However, this bruising fades away rapidly without the need for any external medication or interference.
Apart from the formation of blisters all over the body, other minor indications may point toward pemphigus foliaceus. These are: Redness or swelling Spreading of the blisters rapidly Weakness or muscle aches Fever and chills
After confirming the diagnosis, the doctor may suggest treatment based on the intensity of the condition. Although pemphigus foliaceus is not entirely curable, there are treatment methods that can curb its symptoms. Moreover, it poses no threat to life expectancy.

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The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results