Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a debilitating inherited skin condition that leads to blistering from mild pressure or temperature changes. Normally humans have a blister response when the outer and inner layers of skin become separated. The loose area becomes filled with fluid that serves as a cushion while the injured skin beneath heals.
Patients with epidermolysis bullosa have an extremely heightened blister response. Simply walking, crawling, being held and or experiencing even slight changes in room temperature can lead to painful blistering across the skin. The frequency of blistering increases the chance the patient will suffer an infection, leading to further health risks like amputation.
At least 10 different genes have been linked in combination to produce EB. In most cases, the condition is inherited from the parents, though it can also rarely result from a random mutation [source: Mayo Clinic]. Most commonly, a mutation on genes responsible for expressing keratin proteins that provide structure and strength for the binding between skin layers is inherited from the parents [source: Marinkovich].