Biologic characteristics of cultured human vitiligo melanocytes.
Im, S; Hann, SK; Kim, HI; Kim, NS; Park, YK
International journal of dermatology, 33(8):556-562, 1994
International journal of dermatology
BACKGROUND: Vitiligo is a pigmentary disorder of unknown cause characterized by depigmented patches due to destruction of melanocytes. Recently, the inherent cellular defect theory has been discussed. To investigate the biologic characteristics of cultured melanocytes from normal and vitiligo subjects, this study had the purpose to examine the functional and ultrastructural characteristics of these melanocytes and to observe the morphologic and functional changes of melanocytes in response to ultraviolet B irradiation.
METHODS: Melanocytes were isolated and cultured from foreskin and arm skin of normal and vitiligo subjects. The DNA synthesis, tyrosinase activity assay, transmission and scanning electron microscopic examination, and the effects of ultraviolet B(UVB)-irradiation on cultured melanocytes were studied.
RESULTS: Vitiligo melanocytes showed no significant differences in DNA synthesis and tyrosinase activity compared with normal melanocytes, but the vitiligo melanocytes contained dilated and/or circular rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) on transmission electron microscopic examination. Exposure of the cultured melanocytes to UVB resulted in increased protein synthesis and tyrosinase activity. Morphologic alterations and changes in DNA synthesis were also noted. Compared with normal melanocytes, the responses of vitiligo melanocyte to UVB showed no significant difference.
CONCLUSIONS: Normal and vitiligo melanocytes showed similar biologic characteristics except in the changes of RERs in the vitiligo melanocytes. The ultrastructural aberrations in vitiligo subjects do not seem to be directly related to the biologic characteristics and the responses to UVB irradiation in vitiligo melanocytes.
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