• vitiligo;
  • mouse model;
  • T-cell receptor;
  • IL-17;
  • stem cell factor;
  • pigmentation


To generate a mouse model of spontaneous epidermal depigmentation, parental h3TA2 mice, expressing both a human-derived, tyrosinase-reactive T-cell receptor on T cells and the matching HLA-A2 transgene, were crossed to keratin 14-promoter driven, stem cell factor transgenic (K14-SCF) mice with intra-epidermal melanocytes. In resulting Vitesse mice, spontaneous skin depigmentation precedes symmetrical and sharply demarcated patches of graying hair. Whereas the SCF transgene alone dictates a greater retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma (RORγt)+ T-cell compartment, these cells displayed markedly increased IL-17 expression within Vitesse mice. Similar to patient skin, regulatory T cells were less abundant compared with K14-SCF mice, with the exception of gradually appearing patches of repigmenting skin. The subtle repigmentation observed likely reflects resilient melanocytes that coexist with skin-infiltrating, melanocyte-reactive T cells. Similar repigmenting lesions were found in a different TCR transgenic model of vitiligo developed on an SCF transgenic background, supporting a role for SCF in repigmentation.