Ph.D, Duke University, USA
Amyloidosis cutis dyschromica (ACD) is a distinct form of primary cutaneous amyloidosis characterized by generalized hyperpigmentation mottled with small hypopigmented macules on the trunks and limbs. Affected families and sporadic case subjects have been reported predominantly in East and Southeast Asian ethnicities; however, the genetic cause has not been elucidated. We report here that the compound heterozygosity or homozygosity of GPNMB truncating alleles is the cause of autosomal-recessive ACD. Six nonsense or frameshift mutations were identified in nine individuals diagnosed with ACD. Immunofluorescence analysis of skin biopsies showed that GPNMB is expressed in all epidermal cells, with the highest staining observed in melanocytes. GPNMB staining is significantly reduced in the lesional skin of affected individuals. Hyperpigmented lesions exhibited significantly increased amounts of DNA/keratin-positive amyloid deposits in the papillary dermis and infiltrating macrophages compared with hypo- or depigmented macules. Depigmentation of the lesions was attributable to loss of melanocytes. Intracytoplasmic fibrillary aggregates were observed in keratinocytes scattered in the lesional epidermis. Thus, our analysis indicates that loss of GPNMB, which has been implicated in melanosome formation, autophagy, phagocytosis, tissue repair, and negative regulation of inflammation, underlies autosomal-recessive ACD and provides insights into the etiology of amyloidosis and pigment dyschromia.