Author(s): Horikawa T, Norris DA, Johnson TW, Zekman T, Dunscomb N, , Horikawa T, Norris DA, Johnson TW, Zekman T, Dunscomb N,
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Abstract It is believed that DOPA-negative melanocytes in the outer root sheath of the human hair follicle are activated, become identifiable by DOPA staining, and migrate into the epidermis during the repigmenting phase of vitiligo. These cells are difficult to identify, however, and otherwise have not been characterized. These cells are readily identified by immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and immunoelectronmicroscopy using the antibodies NKI/beteb and A4F11, which recognize premelanosome-related antigens. The majority of the outer root sheath melanocytes were found in the mid to the upper portion of the hair follicle. Double staining revealed that these cells were distinct from HLA-DR-bearing dendritic cells. Further immunohistochemical investigation using alpha-PEP-7, alpha-PEP-1, or TMH-1 and alpha-PEP-8 antibodies revealed that outer root sheath melanocytes cannot be identified by antibodies to tyrosinase, TRP-1, or TRP-2, respectively. These cells also did not react with HMB45 antibody, which recognizes a melanosome-associated cytoplasmic antigen. We believe that the inactive outer root sheath melanocytes contain some of the early structural proteins but not any of the enzymatic proteins necessary for melanogenesis. Therefore, activation is the process whereby outer root sheath melanocytes acquire all of the structural and enzymatic proteins necessary for melanogenesis.
This article was published in J Invest Dermatol
and referenced in Dermatology and Dermatologic Diseases