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J Invest Dermatol. 1997 Apr;108(4):527-9.

Alterations in IL-6, IL-8, GM-CSF, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma release by peripheral mononuclear cells in patients with active vitiligo.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Medical College, Taiwan.


The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship between the cellular and humoral immune components in the pathogenesis of vitiligo vulgaris. By using cytokines as indicators of peripheral mononuclear cell (MNC) function, we compared the effects of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and purified IgG on MNCs derived from patients suffering from active vitiligo with those from normal controls. The results revealed (i) a significant increase in spontaneous production of IL-6 and IL-8 in patients; (ii) PHA, purified IgG from patients (IgG-anti-MC), or IgG from normal controls (N-IgG) induced a significant increase in IL-6 but diminished GM-CSF, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma release in patients; and (iii) IgG-anti-MC brought about a significantly higher stimulatory effect on IL-1beta and IFN-gamma production than N-IgG in normal controls. Immunologically, IL-6 can enhance melanocyte ICAM-1 expression, which may increase leukocyte-melanocyte attachment and cause melanocyte damage in vitiligo. A decrease in GM-CSF (an intrinsic growth factor for melanocyte) production may retard recovery from vitiligo by checking the proliferation of surviving melanocytes. A significant decrease in TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma production may partially explain the reduced inflammatory reaction in vitiliginous lesions. That IgG-anti-MC stimulates an increase in IL-1beta and IFN-gamma production in controls suggests that IgG-anti-MC may play a role in melanocyte destruction mediated by monocytes.

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