|Young woman with Vitiligo|
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Vitiligo (IPA /ˌvɪtəˈlaɪgo/) or leukoderma is a chronic skin condition that causes loss of pigment, resulting in irregular pale patches of skin. The precise cause of vitiligo is complex and not fully understood. There is some evidence suggesting it is caused by a combination of auto-immune, genetic, and environmental factors. The population incidence in the United States is considered to be between 1% and 2%. It is considered a rare condition/rare disease that affects only 1 in 2,000 people.
According to Diseases Database: "A disorder consisting of areas of macular depigmentation, commonly on extensor aspects of extremities, on the face or neck, and in skin folds. Age of onset is often in young adulthood and the condition tends to progress gradually with lesions enlarging and extending until a quiescent state is reached."
Half of people with vitiligo develop patches of de-pigmented skin appearing on extremities before their 20s. The patches may grow, shrink, or remain constant in size. Patches often occur symmetrically across both sides on the body. Occasionally small areas may repigment as they are recolonised by melanocytes. The location of vitiligo affected skin changes over time, with some patches re-pigmenting and others becoming affected.
In some cases, mild trauma to an area of skin seems to cause new patches - for example around the ankles (caused by friction with shoes or sneakers). Vitiligo may also be caused by stress that affects the immune system, leading the body to react and start eliminating skin pigment.
The following list of symptoms mentioned from various sources includes the 23 mentioned below:
- Hand white patches
- Feet white patches
- Arm white patches
- Face white patches
- Lip white patches
- Armpit white patches
- Chest white patches
- Back white patches
- Shoulders white patches
- Groin white patches
- White patches around the mouth
- White patches around the eyes
- Nostril white patches
- Navel white patches
- Genital white patches
- Mucous membrane white patches
- Rectal white patches
- Retina white patches
- Premature graying
- Gray scalp hair
- Gray eyelashes
- Gray eyebrows
- Gray beard
- Sun sensitivity
Vitiligo is associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, commonly thyroid overexpression and underexpression. Jin in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a study comparing 656 people with and without vitiligo in 114 families, which found several mutations (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) in the NALP1 gene. The NALP1 gene, which is on chromosome 17 located at 17p13, is on a cascade that regulates inflammation and cell death, including myeloid and lymphoid cells, which are white cells that are part of the immune response. NALP1 is expressed at high levels in T cells and Langerhan's cells, white cells that are involved in skin autoimmunity.
Among the inflammatory products of NALP1 are caspase 1 and caspase 5, which activate the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β. Interleukin-1β is expressed at high levels in patients with vitiligo. There are compounds which inhibit caspase and interleukin-1β, and so might be useful drugs for vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases.
Of the 656 people, 219 had vitiligo only, 70 had vitiligo with autoimmune thyroid disease, and 60 had vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases. Addison's disease (typically an autoimmune destruction of the adrenal glands) may cause vitiligo.
In one of the mutations, the amino acid leucine in the NALP1 protein was replaced by histidine (Leu155->His). The original protein and sequence is highly conserved in evolution, and found in humans, chimpanzee, rhesus monkey, and bush baby, which means that it's an important protein and an alteration is likely to be harmful.
The following is the normal DNA and protein sequence in the NALP1 gene:
In some cases of vitiligo the first leucine is altered to histidine, by a Leu155→His mutation:
The normal sequence of the DNA code for NALP1 of TCACTCCTCTACCAA is replaced in some of these vitiligo families by the sequence TCACACCTCTACCAA, which respectively code for the amino acid sequence of the normal NALP1 protein SLLYQ being replaced by SHLYQ.
Vitiligo can have a significant effect on the psychological well being of the patient. This is especially true for darker skinned patients as the contrast between pigmented and depigmented skin can be quite drastic.
In some cultures there is a stigma attached to having vitiligo. Those affected with the condition are sometimes thought to be evil or diseased and are sometimes shunned by others in the community. People with vitiligo may feel depressed because of this stigma or because their appearance has changed dramatically. Other people with vitiligo experience no negative psychological effects at all.
There are a number of ways to alter the appearance of vitiligo without addressing its underlying cause. In mild cases, vitiligo patches can be hidden with makeup or other cosmetic camouflage solutions. If the affected person is pale-skinned, the patches can be made less visible by avoiding sunlight and the sun tanning of unaffected skin. However, exposure to sunlight may also cause the melanocytes to regenerate to allow the pigmentation to come back to its original color.
Phototherapy may also beneficial using exposure to long-wave ultraviolet (UVA) light from the sun or from UVA, together with Psoralen, called "PUVA", Or with UVB Narrowband lamps (without Psoralen), can help in many cases. Psoralen can be taken in a pill 1-2 hours before the exposure or as a Psoralen soaking of the area 1/2 hour before the exposure. Lately, PUVA is being more and more replaced with exposure UVB Narrowband light at a wavelength of 311-313 nanometers. This treatment does not involve Psoralen since the effect of the lamp is strong enough. The source for the UVB Narrowband UVB light can be special fluorecent lamps that treat large area in few minutes, or high power fiber-optic devices in a fraction of a second.
Alternatively, some people with vitiligo opt for chemical depigmentation, which uses 20% monobenzylether of hydroquinone. This process is irreversible and generally ends up with complete or mostly complete depigmentation.
In late October of 2004, doctors successfully transplanted melanocytes to vitiligo affected areas, effectively repigmenting the region. The procedure involved taking a thin layer of pigmented skin from the patient's gluteal region. Melanocytes were then separated out and used to make a cellular suspension. The area to be treated was then ablated with a medical laser, and the melanocyte graft applied. Three weeks later, the area was exposed to UV light repeatedly for two months. Between 73 and 84 percent of patients experienced nearly complete repigmentation of their skin. The longevity of the repigmentation differed from person to person.
In early 2008 scientists at King's College London, England, make a major breakthrough in treatment of Vitiligo. They discovered that piperine, a chemical derived from black pepper can aid repigmentaion in skin, especially when combined with pUVA therapy produces a longer lasting and more even pigmentation than previous treatments .
Support groups and organizations are available to help people learn more about vitiligo, understand treatment options, and find support from other people with vitiligo.
Vitiligo Support International is the largest vitiligo organization in the world. The nonprofit organization provides free access to online message boards, chat rooms, frequently asked questions, information and articles, as well as a patient-referred doctor search. The group advocates on behalf of patients, conducts patient conferences and has local support groups.
The National Vitiligo Foundation (NVF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides access to online resources, physician listings, frequently asked questions (etc); funds research through grants and sponsors local support groups and workshop style conferences.
The American Vitiligo Research Foundation Inc. (AVRF) is a non-profit, tax-exempt charity that aims to increase public awareness about vitiligo and to help those affected by vitiligo, focusing specifically on children and their families. It supports finding a cure through alternatives to animal testing.
VITFriends,LLC is a support group in the North East USA. Formed in 2004, VITFriends is still growing and touching the world. We are a web-community offering words of encouragement and sharing hope to individuals dealing with Vitiligo. The goals is to bring public awareness about this condition as we share HOPE.
Famous people with vitiligo
- Thomas Lennon, of Reno 911!, as evidenced by close-ups of his hands during the bike lock scene of episode The Investigation Continues.
- Doc Hammer, artist and co-creator of The Venture Bros. has vitiligo on his scalp, causing his hair to grow two different colors.
- J.D. Runnels, of the Chicago Bears.
- Sisqo, solo and lead singer of Dru Hill reports having vitiligo.
- Fez Whatley, of the Ron and Fez show has vitiligo patches on his face.
- Joe Rogan, actor/comedian/host.
- Bryan Danielson, professional wrestler, revealed on May 19th, 2007 in an interview for F4W.
- Big Krizz Kaliko, Singer/Rapper of the Strange Music record label. He has even named his debut album after the condition (with slightly altered spelling), Vitaligo (The Funkra)
- John Henson, Comedian and Co-Host of Watch This!
- Kara-Louise Horne from Big Brother 8 suffers a mild case of vitiligo visible on her forehead. It also runs into her hairline resulting in a blonde patch of hair.
- Holly Marie Combs who is most known for playing Piper Halliwell in Charmed suffers slightly on both hands. This is visible in some pictures and episodes of Charmed.
- Michael Jackson claimed to have vitiligo in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
- Hedvig Lindahl, Swedish football player.
Vitiligo in domestic animals
- Pityriasis alba - the commonest and benign cause of pale patches on children's faces.
- ↑ http://picasaweb.google.com/mcmumbi/USMLEIIImages
- ↑ Gregersen PK (2007). "Modern genetics, ancient defenses, and potential therapies". N. Engl. J. Med. 356 (12): 1263-6. doi:10.1056/NEJMe078017. PMID 17377166.
- ↑ Jin Y, Mailloux CM, Gowan K, Riccardi SL, LaBerge G, Bennett DC, Fain PR, Spritz RA (2007). "NALP1 in vitiligo-associated multiple autoimmune disease". N. Engl. J. Med. 356 (12): 1216-25. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa061592. PMID 17377159.
- ↑ List of Amino Acids and Their Abbreviations
- ↑ The Genetic Code (DNA)
- ↑ Ensembl Transcript Report Ensembl Transcript ID: NST00000262467
- ↑ Ensembl Protein Report Ensembl Peptide: ID ENSP00000262467
- ↑ Mechri A, Amri M, Douarika AA, Ali Hichem BH, Zouari B, Zili J (2006). "[Psychiatric morbidity and quality of life in Vitiligo: a case controlled study]" (in French). La Tunisie médicale 84 (10): 632-5. PMID 17193855.
- ↑ Kwinter J, Pelletier J, Khambalia A, Pope E (2007). "High-potency steroid use in children with vitiligo: a retrospective study". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 56 (2): 236-41. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2006.08.017. PMID 17224367.
- ↑ Tanghetti EA (2003). "Tacrolimus ointment 0.1% produces repigmentation in patients with vitiligo: results of a prospective patient series". Cutis; cutaneous medicine for the practitioner 71 (2): 158-62. PMID 12635898.
- ↑ Silverberg NB, Lin P, Travis L, Farley-Li J, Mancini AJ, Wagner AM, Chamlin SL, Paller AS (2004). "Tacrolimus ointment promotes repigmentation of vitiligo in children: a review of 57 cases". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 51 (5): 760-6. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2004.05.036. PMID 15523355.
- ↑ van Geel N, Ongenae K, De Mil M, Haeghen YV, Vervaet C, Naeyaert JM (2004). "Double-blind placebo-controlled study of autologous transplanted epidermal cell suspensions for repigmenting vitiligo". Archives of dermatology 140 (10): 1203-8. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.10.1203. PMID 15492182.
- Vitfriends Vitiligo Support Group
- Vitiligo Support International
- American Vitiligo Research Foundation
- National Vitiligo Foundation
- Overview at National Institutes of Health
- Overview at Rockefeller University
- Overview at Davidson College
- Articles on Vitiligo in the Indian Journal of Dermatology and Venerology
- Article on UVB Narrow Band Treatment
- JaLink - Vitiligo links, products, treatments
- Vitiligo Experiments, Help Forum, Images and News
- Vitiligo Forum - experiences of Vitiligo Sufferers
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