A review and a new hypothesis for non-immunological pathogenetic mechanisms in vitiligo


*Address correspondence to Mauro Picardo, e-mail: picardo@ifo.it; citolab@ifo.it


Vitiligo is an acquired depigmenting disorder characterized by the loss of functioning epidermal melanocytes because of multifactorial and overlapping pathogenetic mechanisms. Besides the immunological approach, the study of the metabolic deregulations leading to toxic damage of the melanocytes appears to be more and more relevant. It was only last year that the first in vitro evidence supporting the link and the temporal sequence between the immune response and the cellular oxidative stress was provided, suggesting that the intrinsic damage of the melanocytes is primitive. What can be the guide line of the multiple altered metabolisms? A compromised membrane could render the cell sensitive to the external and internal agents differently, usually ineffective on the cell activity and survival. The primitive altered arrangement of the lipids may affect the transmembrane housing of proteins with enzymatic or receptorial activities, also conferring on them antigenic properties.