Vitiligo

Abstract

Vitiligo is an acquired depigmenting disorder that affects 0.5% to 2% of the world population. Three different forms are classified according to the distribution of lesions; namely non-segmental, segmental and mixed vitiligo. Vitiligo is associated with polymorphisms in genes involved in the immune response and in melanogenesis. However, environmental factors are required for the development of manifest disease. In general, the diagnosis is clinical and no laboratory tests or biopsies are required. Metabolic alterations are central to current concepts in pathophysiology. They induce an increased generation of reactive oxygen species and susceptibility to mild exogenous stimuli in the epidermis. This produces a senescent phenotype of skin cells, leads to the release of innate immune molecules, which trigger autoimmunity, and ultimately causes dysfunction and death of melanocytes. Clinical management aims to halt depigmentation, and to either repigment or depigment the skin, depending on the extent of disease. New therapeutic approaches include stimulation of melanocyte differentiation and proliferation through α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone analogues and through epidermal stem cell engineering. Several questions remain unsolved, including the connection between melanocyte depletion and stem cell exhaustion, the underlying degenerative mechanisms and the biological mediators of cell death. Overall, vitiligo is an excellent model for studying degenerative and autoimmune processes and for testing novel approaches in regenerative medicine. For an illustrated summary of this Primer, visit: http://go.nature.com/vIhFSC

DOI: 10.1038/nrdp.2015.11

Cite this paper

@article{Picardo2010Vitiligo, title={Vitiligo}, author={Mauro Picardo and Maria Lucia Dell'anna and Khaled Ezzedine and Iltefat H Hamzavi and John E. Harris and Davinder Parsad and Alain Taieb}, journal={Nature Reviews Disease Primers}, year={2010} }