Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditionsMay 07, 2012
Eye color may be an indicator of whether a person is high-risk for certain serious skin conditions. A study, led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shows people with blue eyes are less likely to have vitiligo. It then follows, according to scientists, that people with brown eyes may be less likely to have melanoma. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease in which pigment loss results in irregular white patches of skin and hair. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.
The study is published online by the journal Nature Genetics. It looked at almost 3,000 people with vitiligo of Non-Hispanic European ancestry, identifying 13 new genes that predispose to vitiligo. Among the vitiligo patients, approximately 27 percent had blue/gray eyes, 43 percent had tan or brown eyes and 30 percent had green or hazel eyes, which is significantly different from the normal distribution of eye color where approximately 52 percent of Americans of Non-Hispanic European ancestry have blue/gray eyes, 22 percent have green/hazel eyes, and 27 percent have tan or brown eyes.
Richard Spritz, MD, is director of the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the CU School of Medicine, the coordinating center for the research. Spritz said the study primarily looked at vitiligo but also has implications for melanoma.
"Genetically, in some ways vitiligo and melanoma are polar opposites. Some of the same genetic variations that make one more likely to have vitiligo make one less likely to have melanoma, and vice-versa," said Spritz. "Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, in which a person's immune system attacks their normal pigment cells. We think that vitiligo represents over-activity of a normal process by which one's immune system searches out and destroys early cancerous melanoma cells."
People with vitiligo are at higher risk for various other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Vitiligo patients' close relatives also are at higher risk for these same diseases, even if they don't have vitiligo. Spritz said this means there must be some genes that push towards these autoimmune diseases in general, while other genes and environmental triggers determine which autoimmune disease occurs and when. So, as scientists learn about the genetics of vitiligo, they also are learning about the genetics of these other autoimmune diseases.
University of Colorado Denver
Related Vitiligo Current Events and Vitiligo News Articles
Skin Transplant Offers New Hope for Vitiligo Patients
Henry Ford Hospital dermatologists say skin transplant surgery is safe and effective for restoring skin pigmentation caused by the skin disease vitligo.
Lab-Made Skin Cells Will Aid Transplantation, Cancer, Drug Discovery Research, Say Penn Scientists
The pigmented cells called melanocytes aren't just for making freckles and tans. Melanocytes absorb ultraviolet light, protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. They also are the cells that go haywire in melanoma, as well as in more common conditions as vitiligo and albinism.
The traditional remedy bitter cumin is a great source antioxidant plant phenols
Bitter cumin is used extensively in traditional medicine to treat a range of diseases from vitiligo to hyperglycemia. It is considered to be antiparasitic and antimicrobial and science has backed up claims of its use to reduce fever or as a painkiller.
No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older
Wash away your gray? Maybe. A team of European scientists have finally solved a mystery that has perplexed humans throughout the ages: why we turn gray.
Research Suggests New Options in Treating Skin Pigment Problems
Melanocytes are not the only cells responsible for differences in skin coloration. New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) has shown that some of the most basic cells on the skin's surface influence pigment production and help regulate skin coloration.
Scientists Implicate Gene in Vitiligo and Other Autoimmune Diseases
In a study appearing in the March 22 New England Journal of Medicine, scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) have discovered a connection between a specific gene and the inflammatory skin condition vitiligo, as well as a possible host of autoimmune diseases.
Mayo Clinic links allergies to Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Mayo Clinic have discovered that allergic rhinitis is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease later in life. Findings will be published in the Aug. 8 issue of the journal Neurology.
More Vitiligo Current Events and Vitiligo News Articles