Vitiligo: Revealing The Genetics Behind The Patch

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Find the report that covers the Vitiligo genes

Disclaimer: Presence of the trait or SNP in your report depends upon the marker being present in your DNA raw data.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes loss of skin color in blotches.

Based on the pattern of patches, vitiligo can be of two types, namely- segmental and nonsegmental.

  1. Segmental vitiligo develops only on one side of the body.
  2. Nonsegmental vitiligo tends to develop on both sides of the body.

The condition can develop at any age but usually starts above the age of 20.

 

What are the symptoms of vitiligo?

Discoloration of various parts of the body is the primary manifestation of this condition, the symptoms include:

  • Patchy loss of skin color
  • Premature whitening or graying of hair on scalp, skin, eyelashes, brows.
  • Loss of skin color in the inner lining of mouth and nose.
  • Discoloration of the eyeballs

 

What are the risk factors of vitiligo?

There are a few health complications that may put you at risk for the skin condition. These complications include:

  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus
  • Thyroiditis
  • Psoriasis
  • Alopecia areata
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Other conditions which may trigger vitiligo are:

  • Severe sunburns or cuts
  • Toxin exposure
  • High level of stress

 

Does vitiligo spread?

There is no particular way to determine the spread of a patch.

However, in most cases, the vitiligo patches tend to spread to different parts of the body.

The spreading may occur either gradually over time or rapidly.

 

What are the causes of vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition.

An autoimmune disorder is that in which the body’s immune system identifies its healthy cells and tissues as foreign and attacks it, ultimately destroying it.

The leading underlying cause of vitiligo is that the body’s immune system attacks the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.

The melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color, hair color, eyeball color, etc.

The attack of melanocytes by the immune system leads to loss of melanin in different parts of the body, and that appears as pale patches in vitiligo.

Genetics has been identified as the main reason behind this faltered immune mechanism.

 

The genetics behind vitiligo

There have been several genes that have been reported causative of this autoimmune disorder.

The most commonly reported genes are:

TYR

The gene codes for tyrosinase, which is an enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of melanin

GENERS IdRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF THE RISK ALLELE
TYRrs4409785CAltered tyrosinase protein is encoded, inhibiting melanin biosynthesis.

 

CD44

The gene encodes a cell surface glycoprotein, which, when altered, is associated with lupus and vitiligo.

GENESNP IDRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF THE RISK ALLELE
CD44rs736374AThe gene codes for an immune component, which gets elevated in case of the risk allele.

MC1R

Melanocortin receptor is encoded by MC1R, which is a regulator of melanogenesis.

GENERS IdRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF THE RISK ALLELE
MC1Rrs4785587ARisk allele carriers encode for a mutated receptor involved in melanin synthesis.

 

Handpicked content for you: MC1R Gene: The Secret Key To A Healthier Looking Skin

 

CD80

It codes for an immune cell surface protein and takes part in the immune response of the body.

GENERS IdRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF RISK ALLELE
CD80rs59374417CResponsible for hyper-immune response in vitiligo.

 

IL2RA

Elevated IL2RA levels have been associated with increased T-cell activation in autoimmune diseases.

 

GENERS IDRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF THE RISK ALLELE
IL2RAs706779
ARisk allele implies T-cell overactivation in vitiligo.

 

LPP

Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene have been implicated in various autoimmune disorders.

GENERS IDRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF RISK ALLELE
LPPrs13076312TAn increased immune response has been identified in risk allele carriers.

HLA-G

The human leucocyte antigen family gene has been associated with an elevated immune response against melanocytes.

GENERS IDRISK ALLELEIMPLICATIONS OF RISK ALLELE
HLA-Grs2975033TThe risk allele is implicated in elevated immune response against melanocytes.

Vitiligo and psychological complications:

Though the skin condition may seem to be simple patches on the skin, there have been several psychological complications associated with the condition.

People with the condition have been reported to suffer from depression, social phobia, etc.

Celebrities with vitiligo:

Michael Jackson (The King of Pop), and Winnie Harlow (The Canadian Fashion Model) were also affected by vitiligo.

Michael Jackson managed to appear to several stage shows, face thousands of people, even before his cosmetic surgery.

Also, Winnie Harlow has walked on the red carpet of various shows, including “America’s Next Top Model” with vitiligo.

 

How to treat vitiligo?

This condition cannot be cured and therefore, it is crucial to treat the condition.

The most common treatment options available for this autoimmune disorder currently are:

  • Topical steroidal and non-steroidal creams and ointments
  • Photochemotherapy (PUVA)
  • Depigmentation of skin
  • Laser treatment
  • Skin grafting
  • Cosmetic creams to cover up the patches
  • Topical application of Gingko Biloba (maidenhair) leaves a standard natural treatment modality
  • Regular use of sunscreen

 

How to manage vitiligo?

It is important to manage the condition efficiently, and the following supplements may help with it:

  • Vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin D
  • Copper 
  • Iron 
  • Zinc

Recommended fruits and vegetables for vitiligo are:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Leafy greens
  • Chickpeas
  • Root vegetables
  • Fig and dates

 

This might interest you: Simple ways to protect your skin from pollution.

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366044/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891985/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100418/

Do you have your DNA raw data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FTDNA, MyHeritage?

Upload your DNA raw data to Xcode Life. Our Gene Health Report analyzes, vitiligo, alopecia, dermatitis, and more than 47 such categories.

 

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