Increased systemic and epidermal levels of IL-17A and IL-1β promotes progression of non-segmental vitiligo

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Non-segmental vitiligo (NSV) results from autoimmune destruction of melanocytes. The altered levels of various cytokines have been proposed in the pathogenesis of vitiligo. However, the exact immune mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated.

OBJECTIVES

To investigate the role of epidermal and systemic cytokines in active and stable NSV patients.

METHODS

Serum levels of inflammatory cytokines were checked in 42 active and 30 stable NSV patients with 30 controls. The lesional, perilesional and normal skin sections were subjected to H&E staining. The mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines and their respective receptors were assessed by quantitative PCR in lesional skin of both active and stable NSV skin. The MITF and IL-17A were immunolocalized in lesional, perilesional and normal skin tissue.

RESULTS

Significant increase in the expression of inflammatory cytokines, IL-17A, IL-1β and TGF-β was observed in active patients, whereas no change was observed in stable patients. A marked reduction in epidermal thickness was observed in lesional skin sections. Significant increase in IL-17A and significant decrease in microphthalmia associated transcription factor (MITF) expression was observed in lesional and perilesional skin sections. Moreover, qPCR analysis showed significant alterations in the mRNA levels of IL-17A, IL-1β, IFN-γ, TGF-β and their respective receptors in active and stable vitiligo patient samples.

CONCLUSION

Increased levels of IL-17A and IL-1β cytokines and decreased expression of MITF suggested a possible role of these cytokines in dysregulation of melanocytic activity in the lesional skin and hence might be responsible for the progression of active vitiligo.

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