Naoki Oiso, M.D., Ph.D, Departments of Dermatology and Patient Safety and Management, Kinki University Faculty of Medicine, 377-2 Ohno-Higashi, Osaka-Sayama, Osaka 589-8511, Japan. E-mail: naoiso@med.kindai.ac.jp


Piebaldism is an uncommon autosomal dominantly inherited pigment anomaly characterized by a congenital white forelock and leukoderma on the frontal scalp, forehead, ventral trunk and extremities. It is caused by a loss-of-function mutation in the KIT gene. Genetic analyses reveal a consistent genotype–phenotype relationship in piebaldism. However, recently reported cases of piebaldism that are milder or severer than genetically expected indicate that other factors, such as a modifier gene of MC1R, influence skin and hair color. The KIT ligand/KIT that triggers the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway play essential functions in the migration, proliferation, survival, melanogenesis and melanosome transfer of the melanocytes. We summarize current research progress in piebaldism and related disorders.