Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is one of the major forms of a group of conditions called epidermolysis bullosa. Epidermolysis bullosa cause the skin to be very fragile and to blister easily. Blisters and skin erosions form in response to minor injury or friction, such as rubbing or scratching. The signs and symptoms of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa vary widely among affected individuals. In mild cases, blistering may primarily affect the hands, feet, knees, and elbows. Severe cases of this condition involve widespread blistering that can lead to vision loss, scarring, and other serious medical problems.
Mutations in the COL7A1 gene cause all forms of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. This gene provides instructions for making a protein that forms the pieces (subunits) of a larger protein called type VII collagen. Collagens are proteins that give structure and strength to connective tissues, such as skin, tendons, and ligaments, throughout the body. Type VII collagen plays an important role in strengthening and stabilizing the skin. It is the main component of structures called anchoring fibrils, which anchor the top layer of skin, called the epidermis, to an underlying layer called the dermis.
Considered together, the prevalence of recessive and dominant dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is estimated to be 3.3 per million people.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB-sev gen and RDEB-gen and -loc) is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Autosomal recessive inheritance means that both copies of the COL7A1 gene in each cell have mutations. Most often, the parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Published Date: February 01, 2020Published By: National Institutes of Health