Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a chronic, autoimmune skin disease characterized by the appearance of depigmented areas due to the loss of skin pigment (melanin). The lesions can be of any shape and size and affect any part of the skin and mucous membranes. It is a relatively common disease, affecting 1%-2% of the population and sometimes appears frequently associated with other autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitiligo occurs when melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) die or stop melanin production. The origin is not clear, but could be related to:

  • Autoimmune disorder.
  • Family history.
  • Triggering events such as stress, sunburn or trauma to the skin.

Symptoms

Vitiligo is a benign disease with no major health consequences. It can begin at any age, but its onset is most common before the age of 30. The most common signs of vitiligo include:

  • Patchy loss of skin color, usually appearing first on the hands, face and areas around body openings.
  • Premature discoloration of the hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.
  • Loss of color of the mucous membranes.

There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are treatments that can help stop or slow the color fading process.

Prevention

There is no specific prevention against the onset of vitiligo.

Once diagnosed, there are actions that can be taken to slow down its progression such as:

  • Protecting the skin from sun exposure with the use of high protection factor creams.
  • Avoid exposure to artificial sources of UV rays such as self-tanning beds.
  • Avoid situations that can be triggers such as stress or trauma to the skin.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

43 loci

Genes analyzed

ARID5B BACH2 BANK1 BCL2L11 C1QTNF6 CASP7 CBFA2T3 CD80 CEP57 CHRNA9 CPVL CTLA4 DEF8 EIF2S2 FAP FASLG FLI1 FOXP1 GZMB HERC2 HLA-A HLA-DQA1 HSPB9 IKZF4 IL1RAPL1 IL2RA IRF3 IRF4 LPP NEK6 NRROS PLCB3 PPP3CA PPP4R3B PTPN1 PTPN22 PTPRC RNASET2 SERPINB9 SH2B3 SLC1A2 SLC45A1 STK25 TEF TG TICAM1 TNFRSF11A TNFSF11 TYR UBASH3A

Bibliography

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