Indian Journal of Dermatology
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SPECIAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 313-318

Vitiligo and the melanocyte reservoir


Universidad del Valle, Carrera 38A # 5A-100, Centro Dermatológico de Cali - CDC, Calle 5B3 # 38-44, Cali, Colombia

Correspondence Address:
Rafael Falabella
Universidad del Valle, Carrera 38A # 5A-100, Centro Dermatológico de Cali - CDC, Calle 5B3 # 38-44, Cali
Colombia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.57604

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Repigmentation of vitiligo depends on available melanocytes from three possible sources: from the hair follicle unit which is the main provider of pigment cells, from the border of vitiligo lesions, and from unaffected melanocytes within depigmented areas; pigment cells at these locations originate a perifollicular, border spreading and a diffuse repigmentation pattern. In order for repigmentation to take place under stimulation with diverse therapies, melanocytes should be present in appropriate numbers. Melanocyte tissue stem cells located in the niche at the bulge region of the hair follicle are the most important sources for providing immature pigment cells that undergo terminal differentiation and originate repigmentation, but cytokines, UVR and other molecules acting in melanogenesis with adequate regulation mechanisms contribute to successful recovery in vitiligo. The presence of keratinocyte stem cells in the interfollicular epidermis raises the question on the possibility of melanocyte stem cells in a similar location and the development of future strategies for therapeutic purposes.


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