Navigation Links
Skin Condition Vitiligo Tied to Immune System Dysfunction
Date:4/21/2010

Illness involving white patches shares genes with other autoimmune disorders, study confirms

WEDNESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have discovered several genes linked to vitiligo that confirm the skin condition is, indeed, an autoimmune disorder.

Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that causes white splotches to appear on the skin; the late pop star Michael Jackson suffered from the condition. The finding could lead to treatments for this confounding condition, the University of Colorado researchers said.

"If you can understand the pathway that leads to the destruction of the skin cell, then you can block that pathway," reasoned Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

More surprisingly, however, was an incidental discovery related to the deadly skin cancer melanoma: People with vitiligo are less likely to develop melanoma and vice-versa.

"That was absolutely unexpected," said Dr. Richard A. Spritz, lead author of a paper appearing in the April 21 online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

This finding, too, could lead to better treatments for this insidious skin cancer.

Vitiligo, like a collection of about 80 other diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and lupus, was strongly suspected to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body's own immune system attacks itself, in this case, the skin's melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells.

People with the disorder, which typically appears around the age of 20 or 25, develop white patches on their skin. Vitiligo it is fairly common, affecting up to 2 percent of the population.

But the question of whether or not vitiligo really is an autoimmune disease has been a controversial one, said Spritz, a professor in the Human Medical Genetics Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

At the urging of various patient groups, these authors conducted a genome-wide association study of more than 5,000 individuals, both with and without vitiligo.

Several genes found to be linked with vitiligo also had associations with other autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

"We found genes that prove for sure that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease because these genes involve the immune system and some are seen in other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes," Spritz said.

Then there was the surprise melanoma finding.

"We had wondered about this for many years. Could having an immune system that was revved up against pigment cells protect you against melanoma? And it turns out genetically to be the case," Spritz said. "The genetics that push you toward vitiligo push you away from melanoma and vice versa."

"We think that the immune system scavenges to protect us against melanoma and if it's hyper revved up, you're less likely to get melanoma and if it's down-regulated, you're more likely to get vitiligo," Spritz explained.

At this early stage of the game, this is clearly a double-edged sword for people who suffer from vitiligo.

And people with this condition are feeling a little left out in the cold, given that the discovery is most likely to benefit melanoma sufferers first, Spritz said.

In the not-too-distant future, genetic tests might be able to identify which melanoma patients would most be helped by immunotherapy.

But there's also hope also for vitiligo.

"We're starting to see the players directing the immune response," said Prashiela Manga, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. "We need to know what the genes are so we can develop treatments."

More information

Visit the American Academy of Dermatology for more on vitiligo.



SOURCES: Richard A. Spritz, M.D., director and professor, Human Medical Genetics Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora; Doris Day, M.D., dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Prashiela Manga, Ph.D., assistant professor, dermatology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; April 21, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. 1st Plumbing Services Selected to be Exclusive Dealer in Austin, Texas for Installation of Easy Water No-Salt Water Conditioning System
2. Kids With Rare Condition Lack Racial Prejudice
3. New form of endoscopic scanning improves detection of precancerous condition
4. Thyroid condition increases stroke risk in young adults
5. Hip surgery success partially predicted by number of other existing conditions
6. Breakthroughs in treatment of spine and back conditions
7. Justice Department Files for Immediate Relief Regarding Conditions at Conway Human Development Center, in Conway, Arkansas
8. National Study Reports Staggering Spending Increases Among Seniors With Chronic Conditions Through Original Medicare - Special Needs Plan Program Offers Solution For Those In Texas
9. National Patient Advocate Foundation Delivers Constituent Cases to White House Health Summit Participants to Urge Elimination of Pre-Existing Conditions, Annual/Lifetime Limits and Capping Out-of-Pocket Expenses
10. Blacks less likely to know they have heart condition or to use treatment for it, says Mayo Clinic
11. Tinnitus Not Usually an Inherited Condition
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that ... insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment ... family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing a segment ... of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on PBS Member ... with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As ... serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... a leader in post-acute health care, have expanded their existing home health joint ... Health. , AccentCare has been operating a joint venture home health company with ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health ... Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams ... Teams will work together to keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: ... that developed an innovative way to use nonlinear optical ... delivery of new drugs. ... Dermatology Conference will show how researchers from BioPharmX and ... Medical School used a suite of imaging techniques in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance ... a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. An ... technology into a clinical solution to support the improvement of patient ... Innovative Design ... Wireless Solution ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company I.M. ... on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user about ... better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey CPR ... efficacy of the compression for a more informed CPR ... to raise $5,000. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: