• innate immunity;
  • interferon-alpha;
  • plasmacytoid dendritic cell


Immune-mediated responses are consistently observed in progressing vitiligo at the edge of depigmenting patches. Besides the role of the adaptive immune system, the profile of the innate immune response is now at the center of the stage. We report that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), which are the major interferon (IFN)-alpha-producing cells, are part of the infiltrate of progressive vitiligo with local production of MxA (a protein induced by IFNα). MxA was associated with expression of the type I IFN-inducible ligand CXCL9 and correlated with the recruitment of CXCR3+ immune cells. Interestingly, strong MxA expression was observed in perilesional skin in close apposition to remaining melanocytes, surrounded by a prominent T-cell infiltrate. In contrast, MxA was not detectable in lesional skin, suggesting that IFN-α production is an early event in the progression of the disease. Our data highlight a new innate immune pathway leading to progression of vitiligo.