The hair follicle, a pigment cell reservoir

Hair follicle vitiligo

In order for repigmentation to occur in vitiligo, pigment cells must be found in one of these three locations: the hair follicle unit, the border of a vitiligo lesion or unaffected melanocites within depigmented areas.

Pigment cells found in the bulge region of the hair follicle are the most important sources for providing immature pigment cells that originate repigmentation. Melanocytes are present in large numbers in hair follicles and when stimulated they migrate towards the skin. An interesting fact is that regions lacking hair such as palms, soles and mucosal areas are particularly resilient to therapy because the melanocyte reservoir is missing . However a diffuse repigmentation pattern is seen, raising the question of an additional reservoir in the rete pegs outside the hair follicle.

In order for repigmentation to occur from hair follicles it is necessary to stimulate melanocyte production (using UV treatment) and migration toward affected skin. Ultraviolet light is know to produce two effects on vitiligo skin: immunosuppresion (stop melanocite destruction) and stimulation of growth factors.

The presence of pigmented hairs in regions of vitiligo depigmentation is a good sign for vitiligo recovery, showing clues to the existence of a pigment cell reservoir. hair bulb vitiligoIn some patients, the autoimmune attack on pigment cells may be so severe that melanocytes also disappear from all three locations above. If pigment cells are not found in any of these locations, melanocyte transplant may be the best therapeutic approach.

Falabella, R 2009, 'VITILIGO AND THE MELANOCYTE RESERVOIR', Indian Journal of Dermatology, 54, 4, pp. 313-318, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 October 2011.



Submitted by victoria on

i think the cause of it is from pregnancy

Submitted by kryston on

there are studies that indicate that one event can trigger the onset of vitiligo, and that people have reported that an extreme emotional event, sunburn, illness or injury have all triggered the onset, but it seems that the precurser for vitiligo was already there, and the single even triggered the reaction to start the ball rolling so to speak. I saw one small spot on my right hand next to my thumb when I was about 18 yrs old, and now I am mostly 40% covered in spots and I am 30.

Submitted by charles johnson on

I'm 35 yr old man who had vitiligo for 12 years. Mine spread rapidly throughout my body, with depigmentation on joints, under eyes, hair, etc. I tried oral and light medications to no real avail. People used to make hurtful comments before, during and after treatment,... and this was tough. Eventually I started to make a natural treatment which has been a blessing to me. You only need to read this review in the link below... you have nothing to lose.

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