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Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012 Jan;25(1):88-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00916.x. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

HSP70i is a critical component of the immune response leading to vitiligo.

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Department of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, Oncology Institute, Loyola University, Maywood, IL, USA.


HSP70i and other stress proteins have been used in anti-tumor vaccines. This begs the question whether HSP70i plays a unique role in immune activation. We vaccinated inducible HSP70i (Hsp70-1) knockout mice and wild-type animals with optimized TRP-1, a highly immunogenic melanosomal target molecule. We were unable to induce robust and lasting depigmentation in the Hsp70-1 knockout mice, and in vivo cytolytic assays revealed a lack of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity. Absence of T-cell infiltration to the skin and maintenance of hair follicle melanocytes were observed. By contrast, depigmentation proceeded without interruption in mice lacking a tissue-specific constitutive isoform of HSP70 (Hsp70-2) vaccinated with TRP-2. Next, we demonstrated that HSP70i was necessary and sufficient to accelerate depigmentation in vitiligo-prone Pmel-1 mice, accompanied by lasting phenotypic changes in dendritic cell subpopulations. In summary, these studies assign a unique function to HSP70i in vitiligo and identify HSP70i as a targetable entity for treatment.

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