Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder, affecting 0.5–1% of general population. It is characterized by skin depigmentation, which can be progressive, resulting from autoimmunity against the melanocytes and increased susceptibility of melanocytes to oxidative stress. There are two broad types of vitiligo: segmental vitiligo (SV) and non-segmental vitiligo (NSV). NSV accounts for roughly 90% of total vitiligo cases [
]. Autoimmunity is the major hypothesis to explain NSV etiology. Results from recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified NSV susceptibility genes, which further supported the hypothesis of NSV as a primary autoimmune disease [
- Ezzedine K.
- Lim H.W.
- Suzuki T.
- Katayama I.
- Hamzavi I.
- Lan C.C.
- et al.
Revised classification/nomenclature of vitiligo and related issues: the Vitiligo Global Issues Consensus Conference.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: E1-E13
]. We and other groups recently reported the number and functional defects in peripheral blood invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, or regulatory T lymphocytes, in patients with NSV, which further supports the theory that NSV is indeed an autoimmune disease [
- Spritz R.A.
Six decades of vitiligo genetics: genome-wide studies provide insights into autoimmune pathogenesis.
J Invest Dermatol. 2012; 132: 268-273
- Ben Ahmed M.
- Zaraa I.
- Rekik R.
- Elbeldi-Ferchiou A.
- Kourda N.
- Belhadj Hmida N.
- et al.
Functional defects of peripheral regulatory T lymphocytes in patients with progressive vitiligo.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: 99-109
- Zhou L.
- Li K.
- Shi Y.L.
- Hamzavi I.
- Gao T.W.
- Henderson M.
- et al.
Systemic analyses of immunophenotypes of peripheral T cells in non-segmental vitiligo: implication of defective natural killer T cells.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: 602-611
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- Revised classification/nomenclature of vitiligo and related issues: the Vitiligo Global Issues Consensus Conference.Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: E1-E13
- Six decades of vitiligo genetics: genome-wide studies provide insights into autoimmune pathogenesis.J Invest Dermatol. 2012; 132: 268-273
- Functional defects of peripheral regulatory T lymphocytes in patients with progressive vitiligo.Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: 99-109
- Systemic analyses of immunophenotypes of peripheral T cells in non-segmental vitiligo: implication of defective natural killer T cells.Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25: 602-611
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Published online: July 18, 2013
Accepted: April 26, 2013
© 2013 Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.