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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1996 Jun;234(6):359-63.

Vitiligo in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease: immunohistological analysis of inflammatory site.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.



Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH) consists of uveitis with associated non-ocular symptoms, such as vitiligo or central nervous system disorders. A cell-mediated immune disorder is believed to play an important role in VKH; however, the skin lesion has not been well studied. Therefore, for this study, we examined the skin of a 56-year-old Japanese man with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH).


Skin biopsy specimens from the patient's vitiligo were obtained 1 month after the onset of ocular symptoms. Immunohistochemical analysis of the specimens study was performed using the following monoclonal antibodies: anti-T cell, anti-B cell, anti-major histocompatibility complex class II (HLA-DR), anti-T helper/inducer (CD4), and anti-T suppressor/ cytotoxic lymphocytes (CD8).


Histopathologic analysis revealed mononuclear cell infiltration of the slightly edematous dermis, especially surrounding the hair follicles and sweat glands. Melaninladen cells in the epidermis were partially lost. The infiltrating mononuclear cells consisted primarily of T lymphocytes with a smaller number of B lymphocytes. Most showed expression of HLA-DR. CD4-positive lymphocytes were dominant over CD8-positive cells (3:1).


The results indicate that vitiligo of VKH is infiltrated by mostly activated helper/inducer lymphocytes and that cell-mediated immunity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the dermal lesions of VKH as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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