According to a recent study, a group of researchers from the University of California, Irvine discovered that cell-to-cell communication networks might prolong irritation and aid in the prevention of repigmentation in vitiligo patients.
The study’s findings were published in the journal JCI Insight under the title “Multimodal Analyses of Vitiligo Skin Identifies Tissue Characteristics of Stable Disease.”
“In this study, we combine advanced imaging with transcriptomics and bioinformatics to discover the cell-to-cell communication networks between keratinocytes, immune cells, and melanocytes that drive inflammation and prevent vitiligo repigmentation,” said Anand K. Ganesan, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology and vice chair for dermatolog research at UCI.
“This discovery will let us to understand why white patches remain in stable vitiligo condition, perhaps leading to novel therapies to treat this disease.”
Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease characterised by the gradual death of mature melanin-forming cells in the skin by immune cells known as autoreactive CD8+ T cells, resulting in disfiguring areas of white depigmented skin. This condition has been linked to considerable psychological discomfort in sufferers. Melanocyte death in active vitiligo is driven by CD8+ T lymphocytes, but why white patches remain in stable illness was unknown until today.
Internal Reason of Repigmentation
“Until now, it has been difficult to research the interaction between immune cells, melanocytes, and keratinocytes in situ in human skin due to a lack of appropriate instruments,” said Jessica Shiu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology and one of the study’s initial authors.
“We identified distinct subpopulations of keratinocytes in lesional skin of stable vitiligo patients, as well as changes in cellular compositions in stable vitiligo skin that drive disease persistence, by combining non-invasive multiphoton microscopy (MPM) imaging and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). These modifications were reversed in patients who responded to punch grafting therapy, indicating their significance in disease persistence.”
MPM is a one-of-a-kind instrument with several uses in human skin. MPM is a noninvasive imaging approach that may provide pictures with sub-micron resolution and label-free molecular contrast to evaluate keratinocyte metabolism in human skin. Keratinocytes are epidermal cells that synthesise keratin.
The majority of vitiligo research has concentrated on active illness, leaving stable vitiligo as a mystery. There are ongoing studies being conducted to determine when metabolically altered keratinocytes develop and how they may impact the repigmentation process in individuals undergoing therapy.
The findings of this study suggest that keratinocyte metabolism might be targeted in the therapy of vitiligo. More research is needed to understand how keratinocyte states alter the tissue microenvironment and contribute to disease aetiology.
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