Our patients often demand an explanation for otherwise mysterious skin ailments, even if there is no effective treatment. Based on a significant amount of data, it appears that vitiligo is, at least in part, an autoimmune phenomenon. In this article, Xie and colleagues have tried to give us more information to provide for our patients by trying to pinpoint a specific antibody that may produce vitiligo. If this antibody proved to be pathogenic, serum samples from those with an undiagnosed disorder of pigmentation could be tested for its presence. Unfortunately, the investigators did not uncover the diagnostic antibody for vitiligo, but their work may set the stage for further evaluation of other possible pathogenic antibodies in this complex skin disease.
Levine N. Clinical Implications: Vitiligo Antibodies Are Not Directed to Tyrosinase. Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(4):422. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.4.422