• focal adhesion kinase;
  • melanoblast;
  • macrophage colony-stimulating factor;
  • migration;
  • pulsed ultrasound


Repigmentation of vitiliginous lesions relies on the proliferation and migration of melanoblasts from hair follicles to the epidermis. Pulsed ultrasound has been demonstrated to have stimulatory effects on cell proliferation and migration and has been applied clinically to enhance tissue repair. To clarify the biologic effects and signaling mechanisms of pulsed ultrasound on melanoblast proliferation and migration, two melanoblast cell lines, the undifferentiated NCCmelb4 cells and the differentiated NCCmelan5 cells, were examined. We demonstrated that pulsed ultrasound increased cell migration in a dose-dependent manner without altering cell proliferation. Pulsed ultrasound enhanced autocrine secretion of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), which subsequently activated the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) pathway to promote melanoblast migration. Furthermore, conditioned medium from mouse embryonic fibroblasts NIH 3T3 and primary human keratinocytes treated with pulsed ultrasound could stimulate melanoblast migration through a paracrine effect. Our results provide a novel mechanism to promote migration of melanoblasts by pulsed ultrasound stimulation.