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GIORNALE ITALIANO DI DERMATOLOGIA E VENEREOLOGIA

A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2001 April;136(2):109-21

language: Italian

New clinical types and a new pathogenetic interpretation of vitiligo

Fabbri P., Amato L., Hautman G., Moretti S.

Università degli Studi - Firenze Dipartimento di Scienze Dermatologiche Clinica Dermatologica 2a (Direttore: Prof. P. Fabbri)


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Vitiligo is an acquired melanin pigmentary disorder of the skin, caused by the selective destruction of melanocytes. It is characterized by circumscribed white spots on the skin tending to enlarge centrifugally over time, or, less frequently, to recover spontaneously at least in part. The cause is unknown. Some main pathogenetic hypotheses have been proposed. They include the autoimmune hypothesis, based on the presence of melanocyte-specific antibodies and T lymphocytes, the autocytotoxic hypothesis, supposing that intermediate metabolites in melanin synthesis, or ROS and free radicals, exert melanocytotoxic activity and the genetic hypotesis pointing out on “intrinsic” susceptibility of melanocytes toward toxic external stimuli. Finally, the neural hypotesis, suggests that some neurochemical mediators can affect function and survival of melanocytes. On the basis of recent studies carried out by our group it is suggested that white patches of vitiligo may develop as an imbalance of intercellular communications between melanocytes and the other cutaneous cells (keratinocytes, mastocytes, fibroblasts), so that a microenvironment unsuitable fot melanocyte survival (e.g. able of inducing apoptosis) arises.

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