Author(s): Lee AY, Kim NH, Choi WI, Youm YH
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Abstract Stem cell factor (SCF) of keratinocyte origin regulates melanocyte growth and survival. Deprivation of survival factors causes the apoptosis of melanocytes. Vitiligo often develops following physical trauma, even if this is minor. The exact mechanism of the Koebner phenomenon in vitiligo is unclear. Apoptosis of keratinocytes, which occurs more in depigmented suction-blistered epidermis than in the normally pigmented counterpart, could reduce levels of keratinocyte-derived factors such as SCF and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Levels of SCF expression were examined in the depigmented and normally pigmented paired epidermis of 19 patients with vitiligo, and bFGF expression in six patients. The expression of SCF (p<0.001) and bFGF was usually reduced in the depigmented compared with the normally pigmented epidermis. Apoptosis of cultured normal human keratinocytes, which was induced by staurosporine, resulted in a concentration-dependent decrease in levels of SCF mRNA and protein. Normal human melanocytes proliferated more in medium containing SCF or keratinocyte (XB-2) feeder than in medium with neither. Deprivation of SCF or keratinocyte feeder in the culture medium induced a marked decrease in melanocytes as a result of apoptosis. Therefore, lower expression of keratinocyte-derived factors, including SCF, in vitiliginous keratinocytes, which could result from keratinocyte apoptosis, might be responsible for passive melanocyte death and may explain the Koebner phenomenon.
This article was published in J Invest Dermatol
and referenced in Dermatology and Dermatologic Diseases